In the process of its effect on building urban space in Iran, the macro-structure of urban management has experienced both traditional (pre-capitalist) and quasi-capitalist or pseudo-modernism systems. In formation of quasi-modern system in Iran, under the effect of Western societies and its patterns and along with the direction of modernization, the need for centralized government planning and developing plans emerged as a means of governmentally centralized development, but an optimal planning including an integrated process of thought, practice, and participation has never taken place in Iran). So, urban management in Iran, governed by a focused structure, does not move forward in line with global approaches. Such structures are significant mostly due to absence of appropriate legal mechanisms for implementing newer patterns in different levels of urban management, since its existence in Iran has at least made the cities move somewhat forward and prevent chaos. In the present study, conducted in Shiraz metropolitan, the urban governance is analyzed and possible strategies leading to better and more performance of this urban management patterns are offered and prioritized.
The aims of this study were: 1) to analyze the role of municipal government in urban planning and management of Shiraz, 2) to set the priority of the proposed strategies and to select the best urban governance strategy in Shiraz. In order to achieve the objectives of the study, the following questions are posed:
- How is the status of the urban governance in Shiraz?
- Which of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are most effective on the urban governance of the city?
Early in the twentieth century, a theory of modern science, the systematic approach, was introduced by Ludwig Bertalanffy at the University of Chicago to escape the crises raised in scientific knowledge. The main purpose of the theory was to enhance capability of managers through holistically taking vital elements of planning into account. On the other hand, it must be acknowledged that the theoretical foundations of strategic planning are derived from Ludwig Bertalanffy’s system theory as well as the theory of decision-making in management, which were integrated into scientific discussions since the 1960s. In fact, after this decade, strategic planning is used due to the systematic approach in planning; hence, the systematic approach would greatly help the urban managers to better understand and solve problems. In this approach which considers everything as a whole, all internal and external components and interactions are initially known holistically and then, they are decided about and required measures are taken. So, it can be said that because of partial management system and its top-down status in the country, the urban management system in Iran is regarded classical and governmental.
Based on its objective, the method used in this research is functional. Moreover, it has a descriptive / analytical and field nature. The population included the citizens of Shiraz, yet due to their high volume, the samples (n= 384) were taken based on the Cochrane’s formula at 95%. The questionnaires were distributed and filled out randomly in front of the municipalities of Shiraz, so that the respondents would at least once visit the municipality to have required experience of dealing with the municipal officials and the municipal administration. The dominant approach in the realm of the research is a systematic method- based systematic approach that both determines the position of the municipal government and represents the relevant challenges and dilemmas based on the SWOT model.
In this study, based on the citizens’ responses, steps were taken to identify the strengths, the weaknesses, the opportunities, and the threats (SWOTs) of the municipal government in Shiraz. Moreover, the city position was formulated in terms of the municipal government and appropriate strategies tailored to these points. Next based on the urban management and planning experts’ opinions, the strategies were prioritized 1 to 9 in the ANP model. After determining the scores for each criteria and sub criteria, the obtained strategies were measured, too.
Results and discussion
Applying this approach in this study, SWOT technique and its relevant strategies were presented; therefore, in this technique, different strategies are identified according to the internal and external environments of the given matter, yet SWOT is unable to rank the strategies, so to achieve this goal, it seems necessary to various methods of prioritization. Of the most important prioritization methods used so far in the world, one can refer to the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) and the lattice analysis (ANP).
In spite of the presence of both longitudinal and horizontal interrelationships between the four factors of SWOT analysis- i.e. strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats,- the factors have association with their sub- criteria, so the lattice analysis model (ANP) is the best way to prioritize the strategies of SWOT technique providing the chance to make a relationship between all levels of a model, and measure them against each other.
After identifying the strengths, the weaknesses, the opportunities, and the threats and developing different strategies of urban governance in Shiraz and extracting results obtained from this study, it was inferred that the defensive strategies (WT) with three strategies involving WT1 (related to protecting the law and preventing the involvement of irresponsible individuals in the process of planning and decision-making), WT2 ( about provision of realization of an integrated urban management and removal of micro-oriented management and partially perspective views), and WT3 (related to providing a suitable bed for further flourishing of the potentials of the private sector and transferring information to the citizens. These defensive strategies gained a total point of 0.4541.
Next, the conservative strategy with a score of 0.1923 was selected and used as the second strategy. In current situation of Shiraz, the defensive and conservative strategies will have the best performance. After improving this situation in terms of urban governance, it is possible to use the competitive and aggressive strategies. After the defensive strategy, the conservative, competitive, and aggressive strategies have an almost identical condition, because the distance between the total scores of the relative weight between these strategies is very close together