With any function, a neighborhood is a part of physical-cultural division of the town with a distinct geographical space in the structure of a certain community and in relation with neighbors and common living pattern, which is dominated by the hierarchy of the town’s space with a certain geographical region or space. Although old neighborhoods are the most important potential of the towns to use the land in improving the environment and attaining sustainable urban development, they bring about a large number of problems and issues and cause unsustainability in such areas. Based on the approach of sustainability, the neighborhood needs to achieve sustainability which is aimed at improving its identity and structure. In Iran, due to numerous reasons, the plans are designed merely based on physical aspects; therefore, old neighborhoods have experienced a kind of contradiction with other neighborhoods of the town. The old regions of Piranshahr are no exception. Ignoring these areas over years has caused the loss of hope in these neighborhoods and the residents’ indifference to the interference in renovation of such places. In this regard, the present study was aimed at evaluating the level of sustainability of these regions in order to measure their distance from the pattern of sustainable regional development.
Urban old texture actually refers to areas of the legal extension of the towns that are fragile and possess low economic, environmental, and spatial value due to physical deterioration, lack of appropriate access to roadways, facilities, services, and infrastructures; therefore, it can be stated that deterioration means inefficiency and reduction of efficiency of a texture compared to other urban textures. Different definitions have been proposed for old texture; however, what is more agreed over is, “Deterioration is not merely about the physical aspects, but it also refers to a situation in which human’s life is threatened from different aspects.”
Regional development can be actualized if all people and residents use equal rights and facilities and accept the responsibility of activities and decisions that affect their living environment. In general, sustainable neighbors are defined as places in which people want to live in the present and future times and are sensitive about the place of their residence and cooperate in order enhance the quality of their lives.
In terms of its goal, the present study was an applied one, and regarding its nature, it was a descriptive-analytic one. Data collection was carried out using a survey method and through questionnaire technique in the form of closed answers and Likert scale. The study’s population included the families residing Piranshahr’s neighborhoods with old texture in 2014-2015. The sampling method was carried out in a random way. Moreover, in order to determine the reliability of the instrument, Cronbach’s alpha was calculated for each index. After the questionnaires were completed, the collected data were analyzed in the software, then Electre model was used to evaluate the sustainability level of the neighborhoods.
Results and discussion
According to the conducted survey and calculations in the Electre model in order to evaluate the level of sustainability in the neighbors located in Piranshahr’s old texture, it was concluded that the neighborhood of “Seyyed Ghotb” (4) is the only neighborhood that is known as a “sustainable neighborhood”. Neighborhoods of Molla Reza (2), Zargatan (1), and Ghapan (0) were determined as semi-sustainable neighborhoods and Doli Graw (-1), Ghiz Ghapan (-1), Kohneh Khaneh (-1), and Kani Kohneh Khaneh (-4) as unsustainable ones.
It seems that the location of Seyyed Ghotb Neighborhood in the center of the town has caused it to be characterized by “very easy and appropriate access to the main streets and the downtown”. Neighborhoods of Molla Reza, Zargatan, and Ghapan, known as semi-sustainable neighborhoods, are located in relatively different parts and the old texture of the town. Among these three neighborhoods, Molla Reza is located in a shorter distance from the downtown; therefore, it has a better access. Neighborhoods of Zargatan and Ghapan have the same condition in terms of access to the downtown. Among relatively common features of these neighborhoods, one can refer to the relatively similar physical quality, similar access, similar level of facilities, similar application, and similar cost of land in Zargatan and Ghapan with a marginal difference (more) than Molla Reza.
The neighborhoods of Doli Graw, Ghiz Ghapan, Kohneh Khaneh, and Kani Kohneh Khaneh were known as unsustainable neighborhoods. The outstanding feature of these neighborhood is the presence of nonnative population, a high percentage of employment in informal jobs, inappropriate trend of the neighborhoods’ renovation, relatively low cost of land, lack of suitable access to services and ignorance by the civil management.
There is a difference and inequality among the neighborhoods of the old texture in terms of sustainability indices. Regarding the sustainability indices, the neighborhoods of Seyyed Ghotb, Molla Reza, and Ghapan outscored other neighborhoods. These three neighborhoods are located in a shorter distance from the downtown and have a higher level of access. It can be seen that neighborhoods that are located in a shorter distance from the downtown and not in the suburbs have a higher level of sustainability.