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For this assignment, students will be required to select one of the theories used to examine the city as a geographic space and/or the process of urbanization.  For example, the theories include the concentric zone theory and the multiple nuclei theory.

Although this topic will be reviewed during the course lectures and/or discussions, your assignment is to extend the analysis of the lecture(s) and/or discussions by further review and submission of a 1-2 page double spaced paper which addresses the following questions:

(1)      Explain the relevance or the purpose of the theory.

(2)      Discuss the major proponents of the theory.

(3)      What are the unique contributions of the theory?

(4)      What are the major limitations or critiques of the theory?

(5)      Can the theory still be used to explain the city as a geographic space and/or the impact of urbanization on social life?


Urban Theory


For this assignment, students will be required to select one of the theories used to examine the city as a geographic space and/or the process of urbanization.  For example, the theories include the concentric zone theory and the multiple nuclei theory.

Although this topic will be reviewed during the course lectures and/or discussions, your assignment is to extend the analysis of the lecture(s) and/or discussions by further review and submission of a 1-2 page double spaced paper which addresses the following questions:

(1)      Explain the relevance or the purpose of the theory.

(2)      Discuss the major proponents of the theory.

(3)      What are the unique contributions of the theory?

(4)      What are the major limitations or critiques of the theory?

(5)      Can the theory still be used to explain the city as a geographic space and/or the impact of urbanization on social life?



Secondary Data Analysis and Data Archives


Encyclopedia of Sociology. Vol. 4. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Macmillan Reference USA, 2001. p2473-2482.

Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2001 Macmillan Reference USA, COPYRIGHT 2006 Gale, COPYRIGHT 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning


Page 2473


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The creation and growth of publicly accessible data archives (or data banks) have revolutionizedPage 2474  |  Top of Articlethe way sociologists conduct research. These resources have made possible a variety of secondary analyses, often utilizing the data in ways never anticipated by their creators. Traditionally, secondary data analysis involves the use of an available data resource by researchers to study a problem different from the one treated in the original analysis. For example, a researcher might have conducted a survey of workers’ reactions to technological change and analyzed those data to evaluate whether the workers welcomed or resisted such change in the workplace. As a matter of secondary interest, the researcher collects data on workers’ perceptions of the internal labor-market structures of their firms. She then lends those data to a colleague who studies the determinants of (workers’ perceptions of) job-ladder length and complexity in order to understand workers’ views on prospects for upward mobility in their places of employment. The latter investigation is a secondary analysis.

More recently, however, the definition of a secondary analysis has expanded as more data sets have been explicitly constructed with multiple purposes and multiple users in mind. The creators, or principal investigators, exercise control over the content of a data set but are responsive to a variety of constituencies that are likely to use that resource. The creators may undertake analyses of the data, addressing questions of intellectual interest to themselves while simultaneously releasing the data to the public or depositing the data resource in an archive. Data archives are depositories where data produced by a number of investigators are available for secondary analyses. The data bank generally takes responsibility for providing documentation on the data sets and other information needed for their use. The term also refers more generally to any source of data already produced that an investigator may uncover in the course of an investigation, such as government or business records housed in libraries. For example, the U.S. government archives thousands of government documents yearly in libraries around the world. The data in those documents cover a wide variety of topics and are often useful in sociological investigations. It remains the responsibility of the analyst to configure the data in a way that is useful to his or her investigation. This entry illustrates these expanded opportunities by describing one key data archive and indicating the extent and breadth of data resources that this and other archives include. It then describes the process of conducting secondary analyses from resources such as these.


One of the most important data archives for social scientists is the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. The ICPSR publishes an annual Guide to Resources and Services (much of this description was taken from the 1996–1997 volume). Additional information is available at the ICPSR Web site (www.icpsr.umich.edu ). The consortium was founded in 1962 as a partnership between the Survey Research Center at the University of Michigan and twenty-one U.S. universities. In 1997 the holdings included over 3,500 titles, some of them capturing several panels of data on the same respondents or several waves of data involving comparable information. These titles are available to researchers at member institutions. The consortium charges fees on a sliding scale to academic institutions for membership privileges; researchers whose institutions are not members can obtain data for a fee. In 1997, over four hundred institutions in the United States, Canada, and countries throughout the world were members. While ICPSR originated as a service to political analysts, it currently serves a broad spectrum of the social sciences, including economics, sociology, geography, psychology, and history as well, and its data resources have been used by researchers in education, social work, foreign policy, criminal justice, and urban affairs.

Although ICPSR provides training in research and statistical methods and helps members in the effective use of computing resources, its central function is the archiving, processing, and distribution of machine-readable data of interest to social scientists. Although data capturing elements of the U.S. political process are well represented in its holdings, data are available on consumer attitudes, educational processes and attainment, health care utilization, social indicators of the quality of American life, employment conditions, workers’ views on technology, and criminal behavior. The data come from over 130 countries, include both contemporary and historical censuses, and are not confined to the individual level but also providePage 2475  |  Top of Articleinformation on the characteristics of nations and organizational attributes. ICPSR actively seeks out high-quality data sets, and the user fees finance additional data acquisition as well as other operations. It also encourages investigators to deposit their data holdings in the archives to make them available to researchers for secondary analyses. Researchers whose data production efforts are funded by federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation are required to make their data publicly available after their grants have expired, and ICPSR is a logical depository for many data sets produced in the social sciences.

ICPSR maintains over ninety serial data holdings, including the earlier waves of the National Longitudinal Surveys of Labor Market Experience (NLS) (discussed below), the Survey of Income and Program Participation, the General Social Surveys, National Crime Surveys, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the Detroit Area Studies, the U.S. Census of Population and Housing, and the American National Elections Studies. These serial holdings include longitudinal surveys (in which the same respondents are interviewed repeatedly over time) such as the NLS and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. These resources are particularly useful in determining the impact of earlier life events on later life outcomes, since the causal orders of all events measured on the data sets are clearly indicated. The holdings also include sets of cross-sectional studies conducted at regular intervals, such as the Detroit Area Studies and the General Social Surveys (GSS). These studies contain different cross sections from the same populations over time and are useful in charting trends in the attitudes of the respective populations over time, assuming that the same questions are repeated. Sources, such as the GSS, that ask the same questions over several years allow the researcher to pool samples across those years and obtain larger numbers of cases that are useful in multivariate analyses.

To illustrate one data set, consider the National Longitudinal Surveys of Labor Market Experience. These surveys are produced by the Center for Human Resource Research (CHRR) at Ohio State University. The CHRR produces a yearly NLS Handbook, and much of the following information regarding the NLS was taken from the 1998 NLS Handbook. These surveys began in 1966 with a study of older men aged 45–59 and a survey of young men aged 14–24, continued in 1967 with a survey of mature women aged 30–44, and were followed up with a survey of young women aged 14–24 in 1968. In 1979, CHRR began a survey of over 12,000 youths aged 14–22, known as the NLSY79. In 1997, CHRR surveyed a new cohort of over 9,000 youths aged 12–16, called the NLSY97, and is continuing with yearly surveys of this cohort. The six major surveys contain a wealth of data on labor-force experience (e.g., labor-force and employment status, work history, and earnings) as well as investment in education and training, marital status, household composition and fertility, background material on respondents’ parents, work-related attitudes, health, alcohol and drug use, and region of residence.

Each of these cohorts has been followed at varying intervals since the surveys’ inceptions. For example, the Young Women were surveyed nineteen times between 1968 and 1997. The NLSY79 respondents were surveyed every year until 1994, when surveys in even-numbered years began. The Older Men were surveyed every year until 1983, and they or their widows were resurveyed in 1990. Data production for the Older Men and Young Men is complete; data production for the Mature Women and Young Women is ongoing biennially. In 1986 the NLS added a survey of the children of the NLSY79 cohort’s women; that described the social, cognitive, and physiological development of those children and, given the longitudinal nature of the data on the mothers, allows an explanation of these child outcomes in terms of maternal background and current maternal characteristics. Surveys of the children occur in even-numbered years; this accumulated longitudinal database on child outcomes allows important inferences regarding the process of child development, with the numbers of children surveyed far exceeding those in most other sources. This additional resource has expanded NLSY79’s usefulness to other disciplines, including psychology, and to other researchers interested in child development.

The NLS data sets are produced with the cooperation of CHRR, NORC (formerly the National Opinion Research Center) at the University of Chicago, and the U.S. Bureau of the Census. For example, for NLSY79, the CHRR takes responsibility for questionnaire construction, documentation, and data dissemination, while NORC has handled sample design, fieldwork, and data reduction.Page 2476  |  Top of ArticleThe Census Bureau has handled sample design, fieldwork, and data reduction for the four original cohorts. All data are available on CDROM from CHRR. Waves of data prior to 1993 are also available from ICPSR, as was noted above.

Social scientists from several disciplines, including sociology, economics, and industrial relations, have found the NLS to be a critical resource for the study of earnings and income attainment, human capital investment, job searches, fertility, racial and sex discrimination, and the determinants of labor supply. Inferences from these studies have been useful in regard to theory as well as policy formation. Other topics the data resource can usefully inform include family structure and processes, child outcomes, and aging processes. The CHRR estimates that by 1998 over 3,000 articles, books, working papers, and dissertations were produced using the NLS data. The 1998 NLS Handbook provides a wealth of detail regarding the designs of the surveys, survey procedures, variables, and CD availability. It also describes the extensive documentation available on the NLS data sets and lists references to key Web sites, including one that contains NLS publications. This handbook is indispensable for any researcher considering a secondary analysis using NLS data. The CHRR at Ohio State University disseminates the data and provides documentation and assistance to users with questions about the data sets. This summary gives a glimpse of the tremendous potential for secondary analyses of NLS data; this potential is multiplied many times over when one considers the number of other data sets available to researchers.

Because of the increase in resources devoted to survey research in sociology and related social sciences, the ICPSR holdings containing surveys of individuals have grown rapidly. However, ICPSR also archives data produced at varying levels of aggregation, thus facilitating secondary analyses in which the theoretically appropriate units of analysis are countries or organizations. For example, ICPSR archives the World Tables of Economic and Social Indicators, 1950–1992, provided by the World Bank. These data contain economic and social indicators from 183 countries, with the indicators including measures such as gross national product, value of imports and exports, gross national savings, value added across major industrial categories, net direct foreign investment, public long-term debt, international reserves excluding gold, and gold holdings at the London market price. Demographic and social variables include population, total fertility rate, crude birthrate, percentage of the labor force in agriculture, percentage of the labor force that is female, and primary and secondary school enrollment rates. An older data set, also from the World Bank, contains similar measures from 1950 to 1981 as well as additional indicators not included in the data set covering the 1950–1992 period. Because these are also longitudinal data sets, there is the potential for pooling across time variation in these measures across the countries so that cross-sectional and longitudinal variations can be studied simultaneously.

ICPSR also maintains a small number of holdings useful for studying organizational processes. For example, a 1972 study of industrial location decisions obtained from the Economic Behavior Program of the Survey Research Center at the University of Michigan surveyed 173 industrial plants in Detroit, Chicago, and Atlanta. The interviewees were organizational informants such as president, vice president, general manager, and public relations director. The items included reasons for the location of the plant and the advantages and disadvantages of a location; other constructs measured included duration of plant operations, levels of sales and production, production problems, and plans for future expansion.

More recent arguments, however, have suggested that although sociology has invested considerably in surveys of individuals, it has invested insufficiently in surveys of organizations (Freeman 1986; see also Parcel et al. 1991). Kalleberg et al. (1996) present results from the National Study of Organizations, a National Science Foundation–sponsored study of a representative cross section of organizations that addresses their structures, contexts, and personnel practices. Although they demonstrate the utility of this design for addressing some questions regarding organizational functioning, these data cannot address issues of organizational change. A possible solution would be to produce a longitudinal database of organizations. The characteristics of a representative sample of organizations would be produced across time, analogous to the panel data sets of individual characteristics described above. Such a resource would enable researchers to study processes of organizationalPage 2477  |  Top of Articlechange with models that allow a clear causal ordering of variables. This type of resource also would permit analyses of pooled cross sections. Most important, the resource would allow organizational theories to be subjected to tests based on a representative sample of organizations, in contrast to the purposive samples that are used more frequently. To date, the resources have not been sufficient to approach the panel design suggested above. Clearly, the capacity to conduct secondary analyses at the organizational level is in its infancy relative to studies of individual-level processes and phenomena.

Finally, ICPSR also archives a variety of data sets that make possible historical analyses of social, economic, and political processes. For example, it archives the Annual Time Series Statistics for the United States, 1929–1968, which includes 280 variables for most of that period, although only 127 variables are available for the period 1947–1968. Available data include population characteristics, measures of political characteristics of the U.S. Congress, business and consumer expenditures, and expenditures by various federal government departments. ICPSR also archives Political Systems Performance Data for France, Sweden, and the United States, 1950–1965, in which the central constructs measured include size of public debt, gross national product (GNP), energy consumption, income tax rates, birthrates and death rates, labor force and unemployment, voting behavior, urbanization, and agricultural growth. Each of these historical data sources makes possible time series analyses of the macro-level phenomena they measure.

Additional major archives include the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Connecticut and the Lewis Harris Data Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Kiecolt and Nathan (1985) provide additional information on the major archives, and Stewart (1984) outlines the extensive holdings in U.S. Government Document Depositories, especially the products of the U.S. Bureau of the Census. Other important archives include several in Europe with which ICPSR maintains a relationship, such as the Norwegian Social Science Data Services, the Australian Social Science Data Archives, and the Zentralarchiv far empirische Sozialforschung (ZA) at the University of Cologne. There is the potential for member institutions to obtain from ICPSR data contained in those local archives as well. The International Social Survey Program (ISSP) has worked toward coordinating survey research internationally by asking common questions cross-nationally in given years, facilitating cross cultural analyses of social phenomena. For example, in 1990 social surveys in Austria, West Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, and Norway all included questions on work, including the consequences of unemployment, union activities, working conditions, and preferred job characteristics. A comparable module in 1987 focused on social inequality in Australia, Austria, West Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, and the United States. The 1993 module focused on nature, the environment, recycling, and the role of science in solving environmental problems. Data from the ISSP are available from ICPSR.


The key advantage of secondary data analysis is also the key disadvantage: The researcher gains access to a wealth of information, usually far in excess of what he or she could have produced with individual resources, but in exchange must accept the myriad operational decisions that the investigators who produced the data have made. On the positive side, the researcher frequently is able to take advantage of a national sample of respondents or data produced on national populations when individual resources would have supported only local primary data production. The numbers of cases available in secondary resources often far outstrip the sample sizes individual investigators could have afforded to produce; these large sample sizes enhance the precision of parameter estimates and allow forms of multivariate analyses that smaller sample sizes preclude. A secondary analyst also can take advantage of the significant expertise concentrated in the large survey organizations that produce data sets for secondary analysis. This collective expertise usually exceeds that of any single investigator. Despite these advantages, the researcher must carefully match the requirements of the research project to the characteristics of the data set. When the match is close, the use of secondary data will enhance the research effort by making use of existing resources and taking advantage of the time, money, and expertise of othersPage 2478  |  Top of Articledevoted to data production. If the match is poor, the research project will fail because the data will not address the questions posed.

Because many secondary analyses are conducted on survey data, effective use of secondary survey sources frequently depends on knowledge of sample design, question wording, questionnaire construction, and measurement. Ideally, the researcher conceptualizes precisely what he or she wishes to do with the data in the analysis, since analytic requirements must be met by existing data. If the research questions posed are longitudinal in nature, the researcher must be sure that the survey questions are measured at time points that mirror the researcher’s assumptions of causal order.

The researcher also must be certain that the survey samples all the respondents relevant to the problem. For example, analyses of racial differences in socioeconomic outcomes must use data sets in which racial minorities are oversampled to ensure adequate numbers of cases for analysis. The researcher also must be certain that a data set contains sufficient cases for the analysis she or he intends to perform. Kiecolt and Nathan (1985) stress the challenges for trend and cross-cultural studies that result from changes in sampling procedures over time. For example, suppose a researcher wants to ascertain whether more people support a voucher system for public education in 2000 compared with 1990. Changes in the sampling frame over the decade may introduce variations into survey responses that would not otherwise exist. These variations can be in either direction, and hypotheses regarding their direction are a function of the nature of sampling changes. Gallup surveys have increased their coverage of noninstitutionalized civilian adult populations over time, with the result that there has been an artifactual decrease in the levels of education they report (Kiecolt and Nathan 1985, pp. 62–63), since the later surveys have progressively included groups with lower levels of schooling. Sampling changes also can occur over time because of changes in geographic boundaries. Cities change boundaries owing to annexation of areas, and Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs, formerly Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas [SMSAs]) are created over time as increased numbers of counties meet the population and economic criteria for defining MSAs.

The most common problem in conducting secondary analyses, however, occurs in the questionnaire coverage of items needed to construct appropriate measures. It is likely that the original survey was constructed with one purpose and asked adequate numbers and forms of questions regarding the constructs central to that problem but gave only cursory attention to other items. A secondary researcher must evaluate carefully whether the questions that involve his or her area of central interest are adequate for measurement and for analytic tasks. The biggest fear of a secondary researcher is that some variables needed for proper model specification have been omitted. Omitted variables pose potentially severe problems of misspecification in estimating the parameters of the variables that are included in the models. In these cases the researcher must decide whether an adequate proxy (or substitute) variable exists on the data set, whether the research problem can be reformulated so that omission of that construct is less critical, or whether the initially chosen data set is unsuitable and another must be sought. Researchers can also purchase time on major social surveys such as the GSS administered by NORC. This strategy enables researchers with adequate financial resources to be certain that the questions needed to investigate the issues of interest to them will be included in a national survey. This strategy mixes primary data production with secondary analysis of a multipurpose data set. The entire data resource then becomes available to other secondary analysts.

Other challenges for secondary analysts occur as a function of the particular form of secondary analysis used. For example, Kiecolt and Nathan (1985) note that survey researchers who produce series of cross sections of data that are useful in studying trends may “improve” the wording of questions over time. In regard to the problem of voucher systems in public education, the researcher may observe increased percentages of survey respondents favoring this option over the period covered by the surveys but still may have difficulty eliminating the possibility that question wording in the later survey or surveys may have encouraged a more positive response. Such changes also can occur if the wording of the question remains the same over time but the nature of the response categories changes. Secondary analysts who conduct cross-cultural comparisons must be sensitivePage 2479  |  Top of Articleto the fact that the same question can mean different things in different cultures, thus interfering with their ability to compare the same social phenomenon cross-culturally.

Dale, et al. (1988) note that in-depth studies of specific populations may be most realistic with national samples that provide sufficient cases for analyses of the subgroups while allowing the researcher to place those data within a broader empirical context. It is also possible that surveys produced by different survey organizations will produce different results even when question wording, response categories, and sampling procedures remain the same (Kiecolt and Nathan 1985, p. 67). A secondary analyst must be certain that the survey organization or individual responsible for producing the data set exercised appropriate care in constructing the data resource. As was noted above, detailed familiarity with the documentation describing the data set production procedures is essential, as is a codebook indicating frequencies on categorical variables, appropriate ranges for continuous variables, and codes for missing data.

There is often an interactive nature to the process of conducting a secondary data analysis. While the researcher’s theoretical interests may be reasonably well formulated when he or she identifies a useful data set, the variables present in the data resource may suggest additional empirical opportunities of theoretical interest that the researcher had not previously considered. Also, familiarity with data resources can facilitate the formulation of empirical investigations that otherwise might not be initiated. Once a researcher is familiar with the features of a particular secondary source, accessing additional variables for the analysis of a related problem may require less investment than would accessing a new data resource. However, there is general agreement that data availability should never dictate the nature of a research question. Although it is legitimate for a researcher to use his or her awareness of data resources to recognize that analyses of problems of long-standing interest are now empirically possible, “data dredging” has a deservedly negative connotation and does not result in the advancement of social science. Hyman’s (1972) classic treatment of secondary analyses of survey data richly chronicles the experiences of a number of sociologists as they interactively considered the matching of theoretical interests and data availability in formulating and conducting secondary analyses. He also describes a number of ways in which secondary analysts can configure existing data to test hypotheses.

Recent developments in technology have streamlined several steps in secondary analyses that formerly were time-consuming and labor-intensive. Many secondary data sets are now available on CDROM (compact disk-read only memory); the NLS data discussed above are only one example. With many computers having attached CD readers, analysts can read the disks and extract from them the variables and cases they wish to study. Often the disks also contain searching devices that enable researchers to locate variables of interest easily. These “search engines” simultaneously enable analysts to select a sample and obtain the variables needed on each case. These capabilities totally bypass older technologies involving nine-track tapes containing data. In tape-based technologies, analysts had to write original computer programs to extract the needed variables and cases. A typical analyst no longer depends on a centralized computing facility for storing, mounting, and reading magnetic tapes.

The next steps in secondary analysis differ only slightly from the steps that investigators who produce primary data undertake. In both cases, data must be cleaned to remove coding errors that might result in erroneous findings. Similarly, both investigators need to address problems with missing data. The primary data producer is close enough to the actual data production not only to identify such problems but also to resolve many of them appropriately. For example, if the researcher is studying a single organization and notes that a respondent has failed to report his or her earnings, the researcher, knowing the respondent’s occupation, may be able to obtain data from the organization that approximates that respondent’s earnings closely. The secondary analyst would not have access to the original organization but might approximate the missing data by searching for other respondents who reported the same occupation but who also reported earnings. Variations on this theme involve the imputation of missing data by using mathematical functions of observed data to derive reasonable inferences about values that are missing (Little and Rubin 1987, 1990; Jinn and Sedransk 1989).

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Both types of investigator have to be familiar with the descriptive properties of their data. For a primary investigator, observing distributions of respective variables as well as their central tendencies should be an outgrowth of data production itself. A secondary analyst has less familiarity with the data someone else produces but is under the same obligation to become familiar with the descriptive properties of the data in a detailed way. For both researchers, good decisions involving measurement of variables and model specification for multivariate analyses depend on knowledge of the descriptive properties of the data.

Within the respective multipurpose data sets, research traditions often arise from the sometimes unique suitability of certain resources for addressing given problems. These traditions derive from the fact that several investigators have access to the data simultaneously, a feature that distinguishes secondary data analysis from analyses undertaken by different primary investigators, each of whom has a unique data set. For example, in the late 1980s and into the 1990s, the NLSY79 with Mother and Child Supplements was virtually unique in combining a large sample size, longitudinal data on maternal familial and work histories, observed child outcomes, and oversamplings of racial minorities. Problems tracing the impact of maternal events on child outcomes are addressable with this data resource in a way that they were not with other resources. Investigators with an interest in these issues use the data and exchange information regarding strategies for measuring constructs and data analysis and then exchange their findings. Over time, bodies of findings emerge from common data sources where the findings are contributed by a number of secondary investigators, although the particular problems, theoretical frameworks, and empirical strategies represented in each one may differ markedly. As was suggested above, multipurpose data sets frequently allow secondary analyses by researchers from several disciplines. The products of these investigations bear the stamps of their respective disciplines. In addition, the NLSY79 with Mother and Child Supplements has served as a model for the Michigan Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) in its 1997 Child Development Supplement on the PSID respondents. This new data resource, which combines longitudinal data on parents and developmental assessments of children from birth to age 12, will enable replication of key findings produced with the NLSY79 child data set as well as the production of new findings. For example, both data sets contain age-appropriate cognitive assessments for children, permitting findings produced with the NLSY79 child data set to be replicated with the PSID Child Development Supplement. The PSID, however, contains data on how children spend their time. These variables should allow researchers to understand the effects of children’s time use on several developmental outcomes, something that the NLSY79 child data do not permit.

The wealth of secondary data sources also permits investigators to use more than one data source to pursue a particular line of inquiry. No single data set is perfect. Researchers can analyze several data sets, all with key measures but each with unique strengths, to check interpretations of findings and evaluate alternative explanations. McLanahan and Sandefur (1994) use this approach in their study of the effects of single parenthood on the offspring’s academic success and social adjustment. Their data sources include the NLSY79, the PSID, and the High School and Beyond Study. The result is a stronger set of findings than those which could have been produced with any one of those sources.

Another model for conducting secondary research is suggested by researchers who use census data produced by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Census holdings cover not only information on the general U.S. population but also data on businesses, housing units, governments, and agricultural enterprises. Researchers who use these sources singly or in combination must be familiar with the questionnaires used to produce the data and with the relevant features of sample coverage. While some census data are available on machine-readable tape, other data exist only in printed form. In these cases, the researcher must configure the needed data into a form suitable for analyses, in many cases a rectangular file in which cases form row entries and variables form column entries. Data produced on cities from the County and City Data Books, for example, allow a variety of analyses that involve the relationships among urban social and economic characteristics. In these analyses, the unit of analysis is probably an aggregate unit such as a county or city, illustrating the applicability of secondary analysis to problemsPage 2481  |  Top of Articleconceptualized at a level of aggregation higher than that of the individual.

Another advantage of secondary analyses is the potential for those most interested in a particular set of findings to replicate them by using the same data and to introduce additional variables or alternative operationalizations as a method for evaluating the robustness of the first secondary investigator’s findings. A classic example is Beck et al.’s 1978 investigation of differences in earnings attainment processes by economic sector. Hauser’s (1980) reanalysis of those data suggested that most of the differences in sectoral earnings reported in the original study were a function of coding decisions for low-earnings respondents, since the differences disappeared when the code for low earnings was changed. Despite this criticism, the impact of the original investigation has been enormous, with many additional investigators exploring the structure and implications of economic sectors. The point, of course, is that such debate is more likely to occur when researchers have access to common data sets, although gracious investigators often lend their data resources to interested critics. Hauser (1980) acknowledges that Beck et al. shared their original data, although he could have obtained the original data set from ICPSR.

Secondary data sets can be augmented with additional data to enrich the data resource and allow the derivation of additional theoretical and empirical insights. Contextual analysis, or the investigation of whether social context influences social outcomes, is a key example. Parcel and Mueller (1983) used the 1975 and 1976 panels from the PSID to study racial and sex differences in earnings attainment. To evaluate the impact of occupational, industrial, and local labor-market conditions on workers’ earnings, they augmented the PSID data with archival data from U.S. Census and Dictionary of Occupational Titles sources that were based on the occupations, industries, and local markets of respective PSID respondents. Illustrative contextual indicators included occupational complexity, industrial profitability, and local-market manufacturing-sector productivity. Analyses then suggested how these contextual, as well as individual-level, indicators affected workers’ earnings differently depending on ascriptive statuses. Computer software is now available to correct for problems in estimating models that use contextual data.

The potential for many sociologists to use secondary analysis to conduct studies of theoretical and practical importance probably has contributed to a change in productivity standards in sociology, particularly in certain subfields. The fact that certain issues can be addressed by using existing data can result in enormous savings in time relative to the time that would be required if primary data had to be produced. Research-oriented departments either implicitly or explicitly take this into account in assigning rewards such as salaries, tenure, and promotion. The potential for secondary analyses thus may create pressures toward increased scientific productivity; whether these pressures work generally for the good of social science or against it may be a matter of debate.

It is undeniable that progress in addressing some of the most important problems in social science has been facilitated greatly by the existence of multipurpose data sets and secondary resources. It is also true that the resources needed to produce and disseminate these data are considerable and that the existence and continuation of these resources are vulnerable to changes in political climate and priorities when those priorities influence resource allocation. It is critical that such decisions on resource allocation, particularly those made at the level of the federal government, recognize the important role that secondary resources have played in furthering both basic social science and applications informing social policy.

(SEE ALSO: Census , Social Indicators , Survey Research )



Beck, E. M., Patrick Horan, and Charles W. Tolbert II 1978 “Stratification in a Dual Economy: A Sectoral Model of Earnings Determination.” American Sociological Review 43:704–720.

Dale, Angela, Sara Arber, and Michael Proctor 1988 Doing Secondary Analysis. London: Unwin Hyman.

Freeman, John 1986 “Data Quality and the Development of Organizational Social Science: An Editorial Essay.” Administrative Science Quarterly 31:298–303.

Guide to Resources and Services, 1996–1997. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research, University of Michigan.

Hauser, Robert 1980 “Comment on ‘Stratification in a Dual Economy.”‘ American Sociological Review45:702–712.

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Hyman, Herbert H. 1972 Secondary Analysis of Sample Surveys: Principles, Procedures, and Potentialities. New York: Wiley.

Jinn, J. H. and J. Sedransk 1989 “Effect on Secondary Data Analysis of Common Imputation Methods.” Sociological Methodology 19:213–241.

Kalleberg, Arne L., David Knoke, Peter V. Marsden, and Joe L. Spaeth 1996 Organizations in America: Analyzing Their Structures and Human Resource Practices. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage.

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Little, Roderick J. A. and Donald B. Rubin 1987 Statistical Analysis with Missing Data. New York: John Wiley and Sons.

—— 1990 “The Analysis of Social Science Data with Missing Values.” Pp. 375–409 in John Fox and J. Scott Long, eds., Modern Methods of Data Analysis. Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage Publications.

McLanahan, Sara, and Gary Sandefeur 1994 Growing Up with a Single Parent: What Hurts, What Helps. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

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Parcel, Toby L., and Charles W. Mueller 1983 Ascription and Labor Markets: Race and Sex Differences in Earnings. New York: Academic Press.

——, Robert L. Kaufman, and Leeann Jolly 1991 “Going Up the Ladder: Multiplicity Sampling to Create Linked Macro-Micro Organizational Samples.” Sociological Methodology, 1991. 21:43–80.

Stewart, David W. 1984 Secondary Research: Information Sources and Methods. Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage.

U.S. Department of Commerce [various years] County and City Data Book. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.



Source Citation   (MLA 8th Edition)

PARCEL, TOBY L. “Secondary Data Analysis and Data Archives.” Encyclopedia of Sociology, 2nd ed., vol. 4, Macmillan Reference USA, 2001, pp. 2473-2482. Gale Virtual Reference Library, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX3404400321/GVRL?u=umd_umuc&sid=GVRL&xid=66b5cf2b.

Soc Indic Res (2013) 110:147–170 DOI 10.1007/s11205-011-9921-7

Developing Small Cities by Promoting Village to Town and its Effects on Quality of Life for the Local Residents

Mohamad Reza Rezvani • Hossain Mansourian

Accepted: 7 August 2011 / Published online: 18 August 2011 Ó Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Abstract In the past few years, developing small cities, by promoting villages to towns for instance, has been considered as one of the main policies for improving the Quality of Life(QoL) in the rural regions of Iran and with this aim in the last few decades, a large number of rural centers have been promoted to towns. The purpose of this research is to recognize the effects of promoting villages to towns on the improvement of the QoL of the locals by studying Subjective Indicators. The area of this research would be the towns of FIROUZABAD in the province of Lorestan and SAHEB in the province of Kurdistan which have been promoted from villages to towns in the past 10 years. The method of our study is descriptive-analytic and the required data was collected through controlled questionnaire. The results of the study indicate that in general, the promotion of villages to towns has led to significant improvement in the QoL in Firouzabad town and proportional improvement in the QoL in Saheb town.

Keywords Village 􏰣 Town 􏰣 Promotion of village to city 􏰣 QoL 􏰣 Firouzabad town 􏰣 Saheb town

1 Introduction

In 2008, the proportion of the world’s population living in urban areas crossed the 50% mark. Most observers believe that essentially all population growth from now on will be in cities: the urban population is projected to grow to 4.9 billion by 2030, increasing by 1.6 billion. This transition is happening chaotically, resulting in a disorganized urban landscape. Although many expect urbanization to mean an improved quality of life, this rising tide does not lift all boats, and many poor people are rapidly being absorbed into urban slums (Patel and Burke 2009). The United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat) reports that 43% of urban residents in developing countries such as Kenya, Brazil, and India and 78% of those in the least-developed countries such as Bangladesh, Haiti, and Ethiopia live

  1. R. Rezvani (&) 􏰣 H. Mansourian
    Human Geography, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran e-mail: rrezvani@ut.ac.ir


148 M. R. Rezvani, H. Mansourian

in such slums These slums, which are making up an increasing proportion of growing cities, lack not only most basic government services but also political recognition; as a result, so do their inhabitants. These residents are usually tolerated and their presence tacitly accepted, but the local government generally ignores them, accepting no responsibility for accounting for them in planning or the provision of services. (UN habitat 2007).

The year 2007 will also see the number of slum dwellers in the world cross the one billion mark—when one in every three city residents will live in inadequate housing with no or few basic services. This statistic may be reported in newspaper headlines, but it is still not yet clear how it will influence government policies and actions, particularly in relation to Millennium Development Goal 7, target 11: by 2020, to have improved the lives of at least100 million slum dwellers (Patel and Burke 2009).

Urbanization, in fact, is a health hazard for certain vulnerable populations, and this demographic shift threatens to create a humanitarian disaster. The threat comes both in the form of rising rates of endemic disease and a greater potential for epidemics and even pandemics. To protect global health, governments and international agencies need to make commensurate shifts in planning and programs, basing all changes on solid epidemiologic and operational research.

Although natural disasters and armed conflicts cause migration into urban centers, most people relocate to cities in search of employment. When they arrive, many find only one affordable housing option: illegal and unplanned dense settlements lacking basic public infrastructure, where they must live in lodgings made from tenuous materials, such as used plastic sheets, discarded scrap metal, and mud.

Furthermore, one of most important trends characterize the urbanization process in new urban era is expansion of big cities. The biggest cities in the world will be found mainly in the developing world. ‘‘Metacities’’—massive conurbations of more than 20 million people, above and beyond the scale of megacities—are now gaining ground in Asia, Latin America and Africa. These cities are home to only 4% of the world’s population and most have grown at the relatively slow rate of about 1.5% annually. However, the sheer size of these urban agglomerations points to the growth of city-regions and ‘‘metropolitanization’’ that call for more polycentric forms of urban governance and management and stronger inter-municipal relations. The scale of environmental impact of metacities and megacities on their hinterlands is also significant and is likely to be a cause for concern in coming decades.

One of the most important of causes of expansion of big cities and urban slums is rural migration. Indeed the low level of living in rural areas that makes villagers immigrate to larger cities has caused many social, economical and environmental problems and issues both in rural areas and in the cities. Various policies and solutions have been employed to diminish the negative effects of these problems and to meet the necessities of life in the urban and rural settlements across the developing countries such as Iran. Therefore, cre- ating and developing small towns has always been one of the main policies in the planning of the developing countries. Developing small towns by promoting potential and large villages to cities has been one of the major actions done in our country to improve the quality and standards of life in rural areas, decrease the immigration to larger cities and attract immigrants to small towns. Some studies also prove the actual and potential developing outputs of changing rural centers to towns, because by presenting non-agri- cultural job opportunities and necessary services, small cities have an efficient role in decreasing the immigration to larger cities and they make the balanced distribution of population, facilities and capitals possible (Rokneddin Eftekhari and Izadi Kharameh 2002). Therefore, many rural centers in the Iran have been promoted to towns in the past


Developing Small Cities by Promoting Village to Town
Table 1 The trend of number of the cities in Iran in 1956–2006


1987 1997 2006

496 612 1013 12.3 11.6 45 32.9 23.4 66.3


Number of cities
Average increase in the no. of cities Percentage of increase in each period

Source Interior Ministry (2006)

1956 1967 1977

199 277 373 – 7.8 9.6 – 39.2 34.6

few decades. 78 villages were promoted to towns in 1956–1966. The raise in the number of cities due to the promotion of villages during the years 1967–1976, 1977–1986 and 1987–1996 is 96, 123 and 116 respectively, and in 1997–2006 this number with a sig- nificant growth adds up to 406. The trend of the number of the cities in the urban system of the country in 1956–2006 is presented in Table 1.

In other words, 817 cities have been added to the cities of the country from 1956 to 2006. 25 of these cities, are newly-built ones created around metropolitans to attract the surplus Population and overflow, but the rest were villages promoted to towns as the result of locals’ demand and persistence, financial participation of the locals, suitable or special geographical position, special political position (being the center in country divisions, relatively large population, persistence of the township representative in the parliament and eventually with the confirmation of the people in charge in the district, township, province, Interior Ministry and the Political and Defence Commission of the Government), these villages were promoted to towns. In this regard, the note of Article 4 in the regulations of country divisions has an effective role in amplifying the process of changing rural centers to cities. According to this note, ‘‘if the district capital with any population and also the villages with the required conditions (given in the article 4 of the law of descriptions and regulations of country divisions) have a population of 4,000 people in low accumulation and over 6,000 in average accumulation, they can be recognized as Cities.’’ (Bureau of Country Divisions 2006).

So far some studies have been done on the promotion of villages to towns and its effects on the development of the rural areas around including the studies of Hosseini Hasel (1999), Courtney and Errington (2000), Izadi Kharameh (2001), Rostami (2001), Hinderink and Titus (2002), Sheikhi (2003), Fanni (1996), Ghadermazi (2004) and Owusu (2008). However, no specific studies have been done on the effects of this promotion on the aspects and domains of the QoL of the locals and the villages around.

The quick growth in the number of villages being promoted to towns in Iran is a result of massive demand of the people to develop the villages to towns and therefore improve the condition of life and benefit from better facilities and services; now we must see how much of these expectations are fulfilled after a while. The purpose of this study is to determine the effects of promoting villages to towns in order to improve the QoL of the residents of those cities. The question here is how much the promotion of villages to towns improves the quality and standards of life in urban residences. In this regard, we study two villages that have been promoted to towns, one in the Lorestan province (Firouzabad) and the other in the Kurdistan province (Saheb). Although it would be more useful to choose more samples out of various parts, this study suffices only to these two cases, first because this study does not intend to be universal and secondly because the author had restraints in gathering data. Nonetheless, while it is not intended to compare the two cities, it would, however, give us the chance to recognize the perceptions of the people about different factors of QoL that are strongly related to public policy makers and reach an effective


150 M. R. Rezvani, H. Mansourian

element for supporting the decisions related to domains, strategies and priorities in public affairs.

2 Small Cities and Local Development

There is evidence suggests that cities in the developing world rely more heavily on their own hinterlands than do cities in the developed world (Snrech 1996; Guyer 1987), par- ticularly as the majority of the national population is still rural, so their relationship with their hinterland is very important. This link is reciprocal. Since the rural primary pro- duction that makes up much of the export production of most developing countries usually has to be distributed through the cities. Meanwhile, the cities represent important sources of processed food, finance, services, information and imported products such as manu- factured goods and some agriculture inputs.

The solution of developing small towns has been considered from 1970 in order to create an appropriate and integrated settlement system and a just economical and social sample. The Imbalance in settlement hierarchical system, uneven spatial distribution of population, rural–urban dualism, neglecting rural resources, the raise in the immigration of villagers to large cities, the concentrated management system, along with the negative effects of following approaches such as growth pole, drew to attention the solution of developing small towns that is based on down to up development in order to reach the goals of urban, rural, regional and national development and be deployed in policy making and planning of countries, especially developing countries (Ghadermazi 2004).

From the beginning of 1980s, more attention was paid to this solution in a way that in the international Conference on Population and Future of Urban Regions of Rome, the need for deconcentration and development of smaller towns was emphasized on (Jafar- zadeh 1985). Reactions against past undesirable results of ‘top–down’ macro-economic approaches to development that failed to consider or simply ignored the lowest levels of the spatial system, as well as pragmatic policy concerns about the adverse effects of ‘third- world’ countries’ prevailing trends in urbanization and regional development, have con- tributed to the renewed interest in small towns (Owusu 2008). Thereby, in most developing countries, directing towards small towns or village-cities became a major feature in the regional planning and policies in order to improve welfare and QoL of the people in the cities and villages around, reduce the inequalities among the residences, improve the settlement hierarchical system, reduce the immigration of villagers to large cities, deconcentration in decision making system. There are various opinions about the role of small towns in renovation, their effects on developing rural regions, their performance as a service center and also their role in preventing rural immigration (Zebardast 2004). A widely held view in the regional development literature is that, being the urban centers closest to rural communities, small towns are: efficient nodal points for connecting rural producers to markets; centers for locating social services within relatively easy reach of rural communities; and centers for the transmission of government policies and modern- ization (Owusu 2008). Allonso is one of the people who do not consider small towns to have a significant role in attracting the surplus Population, but believes them to be nec- essary in completing the residential Network and creating a joint for equality among urban and rural settlements. As for the distribution of cities as regards number and size, Tiessedel believes that since the natural market forces are not capable of creating the best population distribution system in the settlement, in order to prevent the concentration in some districts,


Developing Small Cities by Promoting Village to Town 151

developing small and average scaled towns should be considered a solution in policy making of settlement System (Amakchi 2004).

About the role of small towns in national development, Neil Hansen believes urbani- zation developed from a bottom level that includes the development of small and average scaled towns to be a factor in the promotion of developing countries, in order to help villagers meet their needs (Bagheri 1996). Most regional policy makers and planners emphasize on the basic role of small towns as regional service centers to develop rural areas through direct product links and also on the effects of distribution and penetration to lower levels. In their opinion, small towns are the pre-requisite for rural and regional development (Zebardast 2004). Towns used to have a symbiotic relationship with their surrounding area, acting as a source of firm and farm inputs (both goods and services), as a first destination for farm outputs, as a provider of (supplementary) employment and income to households (Tacoli 1998).

Most developing countries consider the improper and illogical flow of immigration to large cities to be the reason for the imbalance and inequality in the residence of their population. Small cities can definitely be useful in arranging an organized and logical population hierarchy. Enhancing small towns, their population capacity increases and being on the way of villager immigrants, they direct the flow of immigration to them and to other small towns (Fanni 2004). After all, the solution of developing small towns with its goals and performance can fulfill the main goals of rural development by arranging the condition for vocation and life in rural regions, decrease the distance between performance in cities and in villages by creating village-cities as the active rural centers and attracting people to assist in the development process (Izadi Kharameh 2001).

Some developing countries such as China, Kenya, Egypt and Malaysia have considered the development and improvement of small towns by improving large villages and pro- moting them to settlement hierarchy, in order to prevent massive urban concentration, create new job opportunities, decrease the immigration of villagers to larger cities, pre- senting services to villages, etc. The experience of developing countries in creating new small towns shows us that the strongest emphasis is on the distribution of basic services in the fields of agriculture in order to strengthen the rural community through urbanizing villages (Izadi Kharameh 2001).

Researches in Iran also indicate that one of the major goals of the government in following this policy is to be present in the villages and have a deeper impact upon them especially before the Islamic revolution of Iran, because even though before the land reforms in 1962 the economy of the government was based on agricultural economy with a rural structure, the relations with villages were made through the traditional system pre- vailing the society (Razzaghi 1998). Other researches on this subject show that altering villages to cities has been effective on decreasing the immigration of villagers to larger cities and stabilizing the population in rural areas, increasing job opportunities especially in the section of administrative and trade services, increasing and improving services performance (Izadi Kharameh 2001), increasing the income and economical prosperity, job variety and increasing employment opportunities, prosperity and improving the industry and industrial activities, increasing the level of literacy and social capital in the built cities and influence field (Ghadermazi 2004). Taking into account the significant changes and challenges in rural areas and the economic and organizational advantages of towns, it can be expected that towns will become increasingly important for (inter)national policy makers, especially in relation to the decentralization of rural policies. The changes in the agricultural sector and the intended increasing diversity of other economic activities in rural areas requires a wide range of facilities to be offered by small and medium-sized


152 M. R. Rezvani, H. Mansourian

towns. Not only the presence of shops and commercial services but also public services are necessary to new firms. In addition, the availability of certain facilities for households will increase the attractiveness of towns as a place to live for new employees, which will decrease commuting distance (Leeuwen 2010).

3 Urbanization and QoL

The process of urbanization is believed to be connected with levels of development and some assert that, for a country to develop there is the need for an increased level of industrialization because according to the modernization school of thought, there cannot be urbanization without economic growth. The developed countries passed through this process and according to this approach, developing countries must do the same. This situation, however, is believed to be different in the developing countries in general and in Africa in particular. Modernization theory of urbanization does not apply to developing countries which have not attained the economic growth of the developed countries before reaching high levels of urbanization.

This then raises the question about how developing countries become urbanized and still continue to urbanize. In other words, is modernization theory of urbanization applicable to African urbanization? It was found that social indicators of development tend to predict urbanization more than the traditional economic variables on which modernization theory is based.

The QoL has been the main topic of many studies in various scientific majors, but presenting a general and universal description for this concept still remains a problem; because many researchers believe QoL to be a broad, multi dimensional, relative concept, dependant on time and place, individual and social values. Therefore, it would not be possible to present a universal description for it. ‘‘Quality’’ indicates the level of how good a characteristic is, however, the concept of QoL includes different meanings for different people. Some describe it as the livability in the area, some as on measure of the level of attractiveness and some others as public welfare, social well-being, happiness, satisfac- tion(Epley and Menon 2008). Foo (2000) describes QoL as an overall satisfaction of life. Costanza et al. (2007) describe it as the level of fulfillment of human needs as regards the perception of people and groups of subjective wellbeing. Das (2008) describes it as wellbeing or ill-being of the people and their environment.

There are two main approaches in the QoL studies: the objective approach and the subjective approach (Lee 2008). These approaches are often applied separately or seldom in combination to measure the QoL. Subjective QoL represents people’s perception of their life and can be measured using subjective indicators. Subjective indicators are based on the perception of people and their description of their conditions (Campbell et al. 1976) and are used to evaluate the objective condition of life of people (Das 2008). Subjective indicators evaluate the satisfaction level of people and groups which is called subjective wellbeing (Costanza et al. 2007). These indicators are based upon personal reports of people of their perception on different aspects of life, and measure the satisfaction level of people and groups of the fulfillment of their needs. Objective QoL shows the external conditions of life (Das 2008). The objective QoL is measured by objective indicators that are related to visible and real facts of life. Objective indicators are measurable social and economical indicators to reflect the extent of fulfillment of human needs and are achieved from data gathered from official reports and statistics. The important fact is that quality cannot be determined through objective conditions alone, yet subjective wellbeing is also


Developing Small Cities by Promoting Village to Town 153

important. Foo (2000) claims that objective indicators cannot show the real QoL, because these indicators have high measurement reliability but low validity in the evaluation of human wellbeing. Lee (2008) states that quality must be subjective and the most appro- priate method of exploring QoL is by directly asking peoples perception of their life. Subjective indicators are important when tackling community based issues through a bottom up approach. Ibrahim and Chung (2003) concluded that these indicators are pre- ferred over objective indicators especially for planning and policy purposes since they provide valuable feedbacks.

In addition to the description and the approaches to QoL, there are many discussions on the domains used to study the QoL. Cummins (1996) states that seven major domains of material wellbeing, health, productivity, belonging, safety, community, and emotional wellbeing can be used in measuring the index of QoL. Rezvani and Mansourian (2008), Rezvani et al. (2008), Rezvani and Mansourian (2011) considered three main domains of needs including basic, wellbeing and opportunity and leisure needs. Also Mitchell (2000) portraits the domains of QoL as below: Security, Health, Personal development, Community develop- ment, Physical environment and Natural Resources, goods and services. Rojass (2008) used seven domains of Health, Economy, Career, Family, Friends, one’s Self and community. On the other hand, Lee (2008) has used the five life domains of Civic Services, Neighborhood satisfaction, Community status, Neighborhood environmental assessment, Local attach- ments. Hazel et al. (2000) has suggested eleven domains include: Education, Employment, Energy, Environment, Health, Human rights, Income, Infrastructures, Security, Reform, and Housing. Johansson (2002) considered nine domains including: Economic resources and status of consumers, Status of employment and work, Education and access to schools, Health and access to medical care, Family and social relationships, Housing and its facilities, Culture and leisure, Personal security and properties, and Political resources and participation.

In this study, QoL is considered to be the level of satisfaction of people with different domains of life in a certain place and the subjective approach is taken to evaluate QoL in the area under study. In the subjective approach to QoL, the level of the satisfaction of people with different life domains and of life as whole was assessed after the promotion of the village to city. Since an integrated methodology for determining the number of life domains does not yet exist and choosing the domains and their indicators is done based on personal judgments of the researcher, available data, the characteristics of the area under study and the goals of the research, in this research 10 domains of quality of environment, Housing, Education, Health, personal wellbeing, participation, recreation and leisure, Information and communication, employment and Income and Wealth were chosen for the study of QoL in the selected area. These domains are shown in Fig. 1.

Most problems or difficulties arising in towns and their hinterland are related to sus- tainability and QoL problems. Of course, this also holds for the larger cities but, never- theless, the problems are slightly different. Some rural areas, and in particular those which are most remote, depopulated, or dependent on agriculture, will face particular challenges as regards growth, jobs and sustainability in the coming years. These includes lower levels of income, an unfavorable demographic situation, lower employment rates and higher unemployment rates, a slower development of the tertiary sector, weaknesses in skills and human capital, and a lack of opportunities for women and young people. Just as in larger cities, the problems related to sustainability in towns are mostly related to pollution from traffic and industrial activities (Leeuwen 2010).

Although Urbanization in developing countries has many problems such as shortage of housing and employment, the policy makers and planners in national and international levels, emphasize on the capability of cities, especially small and medium ones in order to


154 M. R. Rezvani, H. Mansourian

Quality of environment

Objective quality of life




Information & communications

Urbanization & Quality of life

Promotion of village to city


Personal wellbeing

Recreation & Leisure


Income & wealth

Fig. 1 Conceptual model of research

Life domains

Subjective quality of life

Evaluation & measurement of quality of life

improve the QoL of people (UNFPA 2007). In developing countries, expansion of urbanization is the inevitable answer to declination or stagnation status in rural areas. Most new occupations are created in cities and urban economy is the major stockholder in economical diversity, competition and growth in the region. Urban centers have a sig- nificant part in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and profitability of services and urban industry is significantly higher than rural activities in a meaningful way. People are con- centrated in urban areas, because the city is where new investment and new jobs are created, in other words urbanization is the reflection of economical success. Urbanization also has facilitated social enhancement in developing countries. Providing basic services such as Health and Education is much easier and cheaper for the concentrated population of the cities rather than for the concentrated population of the villages.

In spite of the numerous benefits of urbanization many policy makers in developing countries consider the increasing trend of urbanization an alarm. They remind us of the deep impact on traditions and customary relations and the problems of providing and preparing services and public infrastructures, increase of the unofficial residences, wors- ening of the environmental conditions and growth of social issues such as unemployment and low employment. Unemployment and social issues are increasing in many urban areas of developing countries, environmental conditions and health is deteriorating, inequality in access to income is raising and signs of poverty, vulnerability and hopelessness are increasingly growing among the people of urban areas and these problems reduce the QoL.

In any case, we should separate the negative effects of rapid trend of urbanization through expansion of large cities and the effects of promoting villages to small towns and expanding the performance of the cities there, because the problems and issues caused by the expansion of urbanization is mainly subjected to large cities and metropolitans. In small or medium sized towns, these problems are little or none at all, because most studies consider the role of small towns—often created by promoting villages to cities—to be positive in regional and local development. The small towns have many of advantages that cities have, and they are also strongly connected to their surrounding areas. Furthermore, concerning the QoL and the decreasing level of facilities in towns, the government aims to encourage local initiatives by both municipalities and residents to preserve social linkage and amenities. The small towns considered particularly important in providing


Positive Negative

Developing Small Cities by Promoting Village to Town 155

employment, services and social activities for their own inhabitants and the inhabitants of their hinterland (Leeuwen 2010). Thus, the conceptual model of this research is based upon the assumption that according to the relation between urbanization and QoL, promoting villages to towns can improve the objective and subjective QoL in its ten domains (Fig. 1).

4 The Trend of Urbanization in Iran

4.1 Description of City and the Process of Promoting Villages to Cities

The rules and regulations for describing city in Iran has changed in the past few decades, however, the present law is based on that of the year 1983 on which some modifications have been made. According to article 4 of the descriptions law and the regulation of country divisions approved by the Islamic Consulate Parliament on 1981/7/6 ‘‘City is an area with legal limits located within the geographical limits of a District and has its own features as regards construction theme, employment and other factors, in a way that most of its permanent residents have jobs in trade, industry, agriculture, services and adminis- trations and as regards urban services, is relatively self-sufficient and is the center for social, economic, cultural and political interactions of surrounding areas and has a popu- lation of at least ten thousand people.’’

Attaching a note to article 4 of the mentioned law on 1993/5/13 by the Islamic Con- sulate Parliament, ‘‘if the district capitals with any population and also the villages with the required conditions (given in the article 4 of the law of descriptions and regulations of country divisions) have a population of 4,000 people in low accumulation (0–7 people in square kilometer) and over 6,000 in average accumulation (7–30 people) and over 10,000 people in high accumulation (over 30 people), they can be recognized as Cities.’’

After all, attaching this note to article 4 of the law of country divisions has had a very effective role in increasing the number of cities through promotion of large villages. The process of promoting villages to towns in Iran is shown in Fig. 2.

4.2 The Trend of Urbanization and Rurality in Iran

The urban population in Iran has increased from 1.964 million in 1881 to 48.259 million in 2006 and its ratio to the total population of Iran in this era has changed from 25.7 to 68.5%. From 1956 and on we see a rapid increase in the ratio of urban population. Moreover, the rural (and tribal) population has increased from 5.69 million in 1881 to 23.237 million in 1996, but decreased to 22.235 million with a negative growth in 2006. Thus in 2006, the ratio of rural population has changed from around 74.3 to 31.5% with a negative growth. What are certain, rural–urban immigrations, promotion and alteration of villages to towns and insertion of villages in the urban texture has played a significant role in increasing the number and ratio of urban population, and decreasing the ratio of rural population contrarily. Table 2 shows the changes of rural and urban population in Iran from 1881 to 2006.

4.3 Distribution of Urban Sizes in Iran

As mentioned before, the alteration and promotion of villages to towns has resulted in the increase in the number of the cities of Iran in the past few decades and this has caused the



  1. R. Rezvani, H. Mansourian

By Village Councils and Rural Office

By representative Parliament

Bylocals residence

Improvement and preparation of village bureau building to turn it into municipality building

Providing a lorry, atruck and a car by locals or provincial resources

Paying rural people per capita for assistance

Demand for change village to town and constitution municipality

Assessment of village economic, social, political and historical and tourism conditions by urban and rural experts, country divisions and technical bureaus of governor general

Positive Determining the assistance of locals and Negative opinion provincial sources by governor general to opinion found a municipality

Gathering all documents along with the 1:2000 map and sending them to general department of Islamic Consulates of the city and municipalitiesof Interior Ministry

Sending experts of general department of Islamic Consulates of the town andmunicipalities and the bureau of country divisions for evaluation

opinion townfrom Interior Ministry -Government

Analysis & approval of government political & defense commission

Promotion of village to town and establishment of municipality

Fig. 2 Process of promoting village to town in Iran

Negative opinion

Sending a request for alteration of village to

ratio of small towns to be too big in the mixture of cities in Iran, even though these towns include a small ratio of urban population. As shown in Table 3, of the total 1,013 cities in Iran in 2006, around 75.2% (762 cities) of them have a population less than 25 thousand people that include 12.28% of the urban population. These kinds of cities are functionally known as village-city. In this category, 313 cities have a population of less than 5 thousand and 239 cities between 5 and 10 thousand people. In fact, around 54.39% of the cities of Iran (551 cities) have a population of less than 10 thousand people (Table 4). Around 100 cities or 9.87% of them have a population between 25 and 50 thousand people (small cities), 124 cities (12.24% of them) are in the 50–250 thousand people population level which are categorized as average scaled cities. 27 cities (2.66% of the cities) have a population of over 250 thousand people that include around 53% of the urban population. Of this, 11 cities have officially been introduced as metropolitans of Iran and the rest (16 cities) can be categorized as large cities. It is certain that the urban hierarchy in Iran is imbalanced in a way that on one hand, a large proportion of village-cities and small cities are located in the lower part of the pyramid which includes a small part of the urban population of the country, and on the other hand there are few cities on the top of the


Developing Small Cities by Promoting Village to Town
Table 2 Trends in urban and rural populations in Iran (1881–2006)


Number of villages

– – –

49,054 66,438 65,055 65,347 68,120 63,868

Number of cities

313 239 210 100 70 54 27 1,013

Year Urban and rural


1881 7,654,000 1921 9,707,000 1941 12,833,000 1956 18,954,704 1966 25,788,722 1976 33,708,744 1986 49,445,010 1996 60,055,488 2006 70,495,782

Urban population

Rural and tribal population


1,964,000 2,718,000 3,850,000 6,002,621 9,795,810

15,854,680 26,844,561 36,817,789 48,259,964

Percentage Annual growth


Number of cities


5,690,000 6,989,000 8,983,000

1,295,2082 15,992,912 17,854,064 22,600,449 23,237,699 22,235,818

Percentage Annual growth

25.66 –– 28.0 0.82 – 30.0 1.76 –

74.34 72.0 70.0 68.33 62.02 52.97 45.71 38.69 31.54


– 0.51 1.26 2.47 2.13 1.1 2.38 0.28


31.67 2.63
37.98 5.01
47.03 4.93
54.29 5.41
61.31 3.21
68.46 2.74 1,013

199 272 373 496 678

Source Statistics center of Iran (SCI)

Table 3 Distribution of urban sizes in Iran (1986–2006)

Population 1986 categories


Urban population (%)

1.84 3.55 6.89 7.56 10.03 17.35 52.78 100

(thousand people)

Urban population (%)

Number of cities

84 113 145 67 46 25 16 496

\5 0.96 5–10 3.1 10–25 8.57 25–50 8.64 50–100 11.75 100–250 14

[250 52.98 Sum 100

Source Statistics center of Iran
pyramid that include over 50% of the urban population. It should be mentioned that the city

Tehran with a population of 7.8 million people includes 16.2% of the urban population.

5 Study Methodology

In this research, in order to evaluate the role of promoting villages to towns in improving the QoL of the people using subjective indicators, satisfaction levels in ten domains quality of environment, housing, education, health, personal wellbeing, participation, recreation and leisure, information and communications, employment and income and wealth have been evaluated. The ten domains and their relative indicators are presented in Table 5.

The method of doing this research is descriptive-analytic. 202 people were randomly chosen from the residents of Firouzabad and Saheb cities and the effects of promoting villages to cities on the quality of their lives was studied using subjective indicators. The means for gathering the information was a questionnaire made by the researcher according


158 M. R. Rezvani, H. Mansourian Table 4 Number and categorizing of cities with less than 10 thousand people in Iran (1956–2006)

Population (thousand people) 1956 1966

Less than 5 13 22 5–10 90 118 Total 103 140

Source Statistical center of Iran (SCI) Table 5 Domains and indicators of QoL

1976 1986

6 84 168 113 174 197

1996 2006

83 313 150 239 233 552

Chronbach coefficient of reliability


0.607 0.707 0.869


0.644 0.686 0.712

0.816 0.762


Quality of environment

Housing Education Health

Personal wellbeing


Recreation and leisure

Information and communications

Employment Income and wealth


1- Access to parks and green space; 2- cleanliness of the city; 3- quality of drinking water; 4- sewage disposal system;
5- collecting and disposal of garbage

6- Quality of building materials; 7- house facilities like Bathroom; 8- ability to provide a house

9- Access to educational facilities like schools; 10- quality of education

11- Status of physical and mental health of self and family; 12- access to health care services like doctors and drugstores; 13- quality of health care services

14- Sense of personal security; 15- future expectancy; 16- Social justice and equality of opportunities; 17- ability to meet the basic needs of the family; 18- satisfaction with life

19- Membership to social institutions; 20- sense of belonging to the community; 21- using people’s opinions in urban planning

22- Access to sport facilities 23- access to cultural and art facilities 24- ability to travel

25- Access to public transportation facilities; 26- quality of public transportation; 27- condition of roads; 28- access to post and telecommunication facilities; 29- access to computers and internet; 30- access to libraries and newspapers and publications

31- Job opportunities; 32- job satisfaction; 33- job security

34- Family income; 35- family savings; 36- family properties like land, car, TV, fridge; 37- costs of living; 38- income security; 39- poverty and deprivation across the city

to the goals of the research. The questionnaire is made of closed questions with answers in five-point Likert scale (1: grown much worse to 5: grown much better) and the questions are about ten domains of life.

In order to evaluate internal validity, at first the method of content validity was used to decrease the validity of the questionnaire. In this method, the first step was taken using examined scales in the studies of QoL and poll of professors and professionals. Then, the developed questionnaire was filled out in two preliminary and final stages and examining the answers to 30 questionnaires and doing statistical calculations, the final questionnaire was gathered. Chronbach alpha was used as the means for research in order to examine the reliability and the value for each domain is given separately in Table 5. Descriptive


Developing Small Cities by Promoting Village to Town 159

statistics was used for summarizing the results of measurement, t Test for testing the theories and regression analysis for creating the causal model of QoL by SPSS software.

6 Study Areas

6.1 Saheb Town

According to the census results in 2006, the population of Saheb town is 1489 people. This town which was promoted from village to town in the year 2000 had a 4.1% growth in the annual population during 1996–2006. The number of households living in this town was 187 in 1996 which rose to 334 in 2006. The household size in this town shows a descending trend going from 5.3 persons in 1996 to 4.7 in 2006. The gender ratio in this town shows an upward trend being 86.1 in 1996 which means to have 86 women against 100 men, but having grown to 94.1 in 2006. The level of literacy in this town has had a significant progress from 1996 to 2006. In 1996, 63% of 6 year olds and above were literate whereas in 2006 this number has risen to 75%. The changes in the literacy ratio based on gender also show an encouraging status; that is in 1996, 73% of the men and 52% of the women were literate, whereas in 2006 84% of the men and 68% of the women were literate. In 1996, the rate of employment was 49.3% and that of unemployment was 6% which have reached to 58.03 and 2% in 2006. The considerable fact is the gradual decrease in women employees from 1996 to 2006. Some of the major reasons for this are the decrease in the role of industrial activities (carpet weaving), animal husbandry and finally availability of education after being promoted to town.

6.2 Firouzabad Town

According to the census results in 2006, the population of Firouzabad town is 2857 people. This town was turned into an urban region in 2000 with regards to the policy of promoting large villages to cities, and had an annual population growth of 1.78% from 1996 to 2006. The number of households living in this town was 402 in 1996 which grew to 614 in 2006. Household size in this town shows a descending trend going from 5.96 persons in 1996 to 4.65 in 2006. The gender ratio in this town shows an upward trend being 91.1 in 1996 which means to have 91 women against 100 men, and having grown to 97.1 in 2006. The level of literacy in this town has had a significant progress from 1996 to 2006. In 1996, 76.1% of 6 year olds and above were literate whereas in 2006 this number has risen to 82.9%. The changes in the literacy ratio based on gender also show an encouraging status; that is in 1996, 84.7% of the men and 66.5% of the women were literate, whereas in 2006, 89.1% of the men and 76.1% of the women were literate.

7 Findings

7.1 The Features of the Sample

Most of the respondents (63.9%) are 31–50 years old and 79.7% of them are men. More than 67% of the respondents hold a diploma or under and only 14.9% hold above diploma degrees. Around one third of the respondents (33.7%) have a monthly income of 200–299


160 M. R. Rezvani, H. Mansourian

thousand Tomans (200–299$) and only 11.4% of them have a monthly income of over 400 thousand Tomans (400$). 85% of the respondents are employed and 48.5 of them live in 4 and 5 person families.

7.2 Evaluating the Aspects and Domains of QoL

The status of the aspects and domains of QoL in Saheb and Firouzabad towns after being promoted to cities is as follows:

7.2.1 Quality of the Environment

The opinions of the respondents on the role of promoting villages to towns in the improvement of quality of environment shows that over 95% of the respondents in Fir- ouzabad town believe the cleanliness of their town to have improved, but in Saheb town 47% of the people believe that the status of cleanliness has not improved. People of Firouzabad town seem to have a positive opinion about the changes made in the sewage and waste collection and disposal system; that is 41 and 84% of them respectively, answered that the status of sewage and waste collection and disposal system has improved. In Saheb town 80% of the people have reported improvement in the status of waste collection and disposal, but 64% of the residents believe the status of sewage disposal and collection of surface water to be disappointing and with no improvement. About the quality of drinking water, 70% of the respondents in Firouzabad and 51% in Saheb town stated that the quality of their accessible drinking water has improved. More than half of the locals of Firouzabad and Saheb cities believe that their access to parks and green spaces in their neighborhood has improved. In Firouzabad town, improvement in cleanliness of urban environment and in Saheb town, improvement in waste collection and disposal system was the most significant result of their promotion in the domain of quality of the environment. In these towns the worse status was that of sewage collection and disposal.

7.2.2 The Status of Housing

The opinions of the respondents on the role of promoting villages to towns in the improvement of the status of housing show that around 85% of the people in Firouzabad believe the quality of housing has improved building materials and in Saheb town, 90% of the people believe the same. In both towns people stated that the equipments and facilities of their houses such as bathrooms and sanitary toilet have significantly improved and they think that supervision on construction is more effective than before. Based on the opinions of more than half of the respondents in the two cities, people’s ability to provide housing has increased. In this domain, in both cities equipments and facilities such as bathrooms and kitchens have improved the most.

7.2.3 Education

People’s opinions on the role of promoting villages to towns in the improvement of the status of education in Firouzabad and Saheb towns show that over 96% of the respondents in Firouzabad report an improvement in availability of educational facilities; in Saheb town, however, 42% of the respondents believe there to have been no improvement in the educational facilities where they live. The changes made in the quality of education in Firouzabad are also believed to be very good and encouraging and over 80% of them have


Developing Small Cities by Promoting Village to Town 161

witnessed positive changes in the quality of education. In Saheb town also 55% of the people stated that the quality of education has increased where they live.

7.2.4 Health

People’s opinions on the role of promoting villages to towns in the improvement of the status of health in Firouzabad and Saheb towns show that 74% of the respondents in Firouzabad believe that there has been no improvement in their access to health services; in Saheb town, however, 57% of the respondents reported an improvement in health services. People’s opinions about improvement in the quality of health services in Firouzabad town is disap- pointing and around 75% of the people stated that the quality of health services have had no improvement in comparison to the past. In Saheb town, around 49% of the respondents have the same opinion. People’s opinions about the status of physical and mental health show that in both towns, physical and mental health has significantly improved.

7.2.5 Personal Wellbeing

The opinions of the people on the role of promoting villages to towns in the improvement of the status of personal wellbeing in Firouzabad and Saheb towns show that the sense of personal safety has improved in both cities, reported by over 96% of the respondents in Firouzabad and 65% in Saheb. Locals’ viewpoint on future expectancy is encouraging and over 80% of the people in both towns stated that the changes in future expectancy is positive. People’s opinions about the effect of promoting villages to towns in the improvement of social justice and equality of opportunities are positive and over 80% of the respondents in Firouzabad and 55% in Saheb stated that locals’ ability to fulfill the basic needs of their families has improved and over 70% of the people in Firouzabad and Saheb towns believe that they are more satisfied with their lives than before.

7.2.6 Participation

The opinions of the people on the role of promoting villages to towns in the improvement of the status of Participation in Firouzabad and Saheb towns show that the sense of belonging to the community has improved among the locals and 84% of the respondents in Firouzabad and 61% in Saheb reported a significant improvement in the sense of belonging to the community. In the respondents’ opinion, in Firouzabad town using people’s opinions in urban affairs has had a positive trend; in Saheb town, however, the opposite is reported. Around 85% of the people of Firouzabad believe that the promotion of their village to town has increased the membership to social institutions. In Saheb town, 55% of the respondents share the same opinion.

7.2.7 Recreation and Leisure

The opinions of the people on the role of promoting villages to towns in the improvement of the status of recreation and Leisure in Firouzabad and Saheb towns show that availability of sports facilities in Firouzabad has had a growing trend; however, in Saheb town, the opposite is seen and over 80% of the respondents have reported no improvement in availability of sports facilities. Changes made in peoples’ access to cultural and artistic facilities in Firouzabad town are very weak and the situation is the same in Saheb town. Most of the people in both towns believe that their ability to travel has increased in comparison to the past.


162 M. R. Rezvani, H. Mansourian

7.2.8 Information and Communications

The opinions of the people on the role of promoting villages to towns in the improvement of the status of information and communications in Firouzabad and Saheb towns show that public transportation facilities have improved in both cities, reported by over 80% of the respondents in Firouzabad and 70% in Saheb town. Post and telecommunication facilities have also had positive changes in the people’s opinions and over 80% of the people of these cities believe that the promotion of their village to town has led to significant improvement in post and telecommunication facilities available. Access to computers and internet in Firouzabad town has also had a growing trend in Firouzabad town reported by over 70% of the people; in Saheb town, however, 48% of the respondents did not report any positive changes. People’s opinions about access to libraries, newspapers and publi- cations are disappointing and they show no improvement in this regard. In Saheb town, 91% of the people describe the status of access to newspapers and publications as very bad.

7.2.9 Employment

The opinions of the people on the role of promoting villages to towns in the improvement of the status of occupation in Firouzabad and Saheb towns show that over 60% of the respondents in Firouzabad town believe that job opportunities have improved; however, in Saheb town, over 60% of them believe there to have been no improvement in job opportunities where they live. Job satisfaction and security shows a good trend in both towns and most of the residents reported the improvement of these indicators.

7.2.10 Income and Wealth

The opinions of the people on the role of promoting villages to towns in the improvement of the status of income and wealth in Firouzabad and Saheb towns show that more than 80% of the respondents in Firouzabad and around 73% in Saheb believe that their income has improved. The changes made in savings of the families also show a positive trend. Around 81% of the people in Firouzabad and 68% of the people in Saheb town reported an improvement in the properties of the families. People’s opinions about the changes in income security is encouraging and over 60% of the respondents in each town reported the decrease of poverty and deprivation across the town.

The descriptive statistics of satisfaction of various domains of QoL in the two towns of Firouzabad and Saheb are shown in Tables 6 and 7. In Firouzabad town, the lowest mean value is that of satisfaction of the domains of health, recreation and leisure and employ- ment. The highest mean value in this town is that of the domains of education, information and communications and personal wellbeing.

In Saheb town, the lowest mean value is that of the domains of recreation and leisure, employment and information and communications and the highest mean value is that of the domain of housing.

7.3 Analytic Findings

In this study, data has been analyzed by means of statistical technique of t Test. The main question in this study is the role of promoting villages to towns in the improvement of QoL of the residents which is tested in ten domains of life. The results show that the promotion of village to town in Firouzabad has improved the QoL in the domains of quality of urban


Developing Small Cities by Promoting Village to Town 163


Table 6 Descriptive statistics for satisfaction with various domains

of QoL in Firouzabad town

Satisfaction levels

Life domains (%)

Much better Better
No changes Worse
Much worse
Standard deviation

32.5 33.1 37.2 44.8 24.7 15.4 3.2 4.9 2.4 3.8 4.42 4.28 0.57 0.665

  1. 38.7 7.9 0

17.0 31.1 26.5 28.1 48.2 53.9 26.8 12.1 9.2 12.4 4.2 6.5 15.7 4.4 3.9 3.59 4.43 4.22 1.03 0.751 0.807

32.2 41.8 16.8 0
9.2 4.46 0.698

12.1 15.1 45.4 52.6 33.4 20.9 1.3 4.9 7.8 6.5 3.83 3.86 0.771 0.844

9.7 54.1 25.7 9.2 1.3 4.02 0.695

Quality Housing of environment


Health Personal Participation wellbeing

Information and communications

Leisure Employment

Income and wealth

0 4.58 0.494

164 M. R. Rezvani, H. Mansourian


Table 7 Descriptive statistics for satisfaction with various domains of QoL in Saheb town

Satisfaction levels

Life domains (%)

Much better Better
No changes Worse
Much worse
Standard deviation

12.6 37 18 38 54.7 37.5 12 5.3 4 30.8 3 34 6.6 0 6.5 3.19 4.26 3.22 0.683 0.482 1.258

3.8 15.6 14.2 44.8 35.4 37.2 19.7 13.8 16.4 18.7 25.2 20.1 13 10 12.1 3.07 3.21 3.21 0.868 0.6 0.573

12 30 13.2 22.8 22 2.87 0.607

1 6.7 13.3 26 17 14.6 37.3 30.7 31.4 22 2.15 2.65 0.632 0.635

10 49.3 20.2 14.2 6.3 3.42 0.574

Quality of Housing Education environment

Health Personal Participation wellbeing

Information and communications

Leisure Employment

Income and wealth

Developing Small Cities by Promoting Village to Town 165


Table 8 Statistical results of data analysis on ten domains of QoL

Domain of quality of life

No. of observations Average
Saheb Firouzabad Saheb Firouzabad

Average standard error Saheb Firouzabad

Statistic T Saheb

Level of significance Firouzabad Saheb Firouzabad

Quality of environment Housing

100 102 18.84 19.72 100 102 12.77 11.82 100 102 6.56 8.91 100 102 8.92 9.51 100 102 16.69 19.8 100 102 9.04 11.77 100 102 6.46 10.58 100 102 18.86 23.2 100 102 7.91 10.94 100 102 19.78 21.71

0.409 0.231 0.144 0.183 0.243 0.109 0.26 0.272 0.332 0.339 0.215 0.212 0.189 0.22 0.359 0.387 0.19 0.256 0.264 0.286

9.368 26.027 2.297 -0.307 5.076 0.186 -13.379 2.392 -5.715 6.746

20.446 0 0 15.389 0 0 26.734 0.024 0

Personal wellbeing Participation
Recreation and leisure Info and communication Employment

1.873 0.075 0.05 14.134 0 0 13.076 0.853 0

Income and wealth

7.173 0 0 13.413 0.019 0 7.58 0 0 12.991 0 0


  1. R. Rezvani, H. Mansourian

Table 9 Satisfaction with life after the promotion of village to town

Quality of life

Completely unsatisfied Unsatisfied

Completely satisfied Mean
Standard deviation

Firouzabad (%)

3.9 22.5 44.1 29.4 3.99 0.826

Saheb (%)

12 20
1 2.73 0.897

environment, housing, education, personal wellbeing, participation, information and communications, recreation and leisure, employment and income and wealth and the only domain without improvement is that of health. The results of analyzing data in Saheb town show that the promotion of village to town has improved the QoL of the residents in the six domains of quality of urban environment, housing, personal wellbeing, participation, information and communications and income and wealth; however, there has been no improvement in the four domain of education, health, recreation and leisure and employment. The statistic of analyzed data is given in Table 8.

7.4 Satisfaction with the QoL After the Promotion of Village to Town

The subjective QoL in the area under study is measured based on rational response. In order to do this, the respondents were asked to state their satisfaction level of the general quality of their lives considering all mentioned domains their villages was promoted to town. The answer to this question was considered as the rational QoL. The rational QoL reflects people’s satisfaction of life considering their satisfaction of various domains of life. In other words, rational QoL is measured after the respondents have stated their opinions on their satisfaction level of various domains. The respondents answered this question in a five-point Likert scale (1 = completely dissatisfied to 5 = completely satisfied). Table 9 shows the percentage of respondents in the two cities of Firouzabad and Saheb that are categorized in various levels of QoL based on their answers. In Firouzabad town, 73.5% of the respondents were satisfied with the quality of their lives after the promotion of the village to town and only less than 4% of them were dissatisfied with the quality of their lives. For the respondents in Firouzabad, the mean of the scores for QoL is 3.99 with the standard deviation of 0.826. In Saheb town, only 16% of the people were satisfied with the quality of their lives and 32% of them were dissatisfied. For the respondents in Saheb, the mean of the scores for QoL is 2.73 with the standard deviation of 0.897.

7.5 Analytic Model of QoL

As suggested Pacione (2003) and Richards et al. (2007) multiple regression is computed to identify the contribution of each domain to the subjective QoL and to develop causal model that shows the interaction between domains and attributes. One of the purposes of this study is to develop a causal model by identifying the most effective domains on subjective QoL after the promotion of village to town. The main question in developing this model is which domains have the strongest effect on QoL in the area under study. The answer to this question can be partly related to understanding the causal effect of the


Developing Small Cities by Promoting Village to Town 167

domains and partly to designing effective plans for improving the quality of urban life in the area. In this study, we have only provided the causal of QoL for Firouzabad town.

Multiple Regressions is applied to identify the dominant domains of life and the dominant attributes of domains of life. The regression analysis shows the relative contri- bution of each domain and their attributes in the QoL. The causal relationship between QoL domains and rational QoL after the promotion of village to town has following form:

QOL 1⁄4 0:35QE þ 0:74HO þ 0:26ED 􏰤 0:24HE 􏰤 0:57PW þ 0:17PA 􏰤 0:73IC þ 0:23RL þ 0:16EM þ 0:66IN

QE: Quality of the Environment, HO: Housing, ED: Education, HE: Health, PW: Personal Wellbeing, PA: Participation, IC: Information and Communications, RL: Recreation and leisure, EM: Employment, IN: Income and Wealth

The total variance of the subjective QoL that is explained by the model is 57%. The coefficients in the model indicate the relative impact of each domain on the QoL. The contribution of each domain to the QoL is not equal. The domain that has the strongest causal impact is housing and this is followed by information & communications and income & wealth. The domains that the weakest causal impact on QoL are employment and participation.

This analysis shows that, domains of life identified for this study have a direct effect on individual’s QoL of the people. Moreover, the relationship between domain satisfactions and the respective perceived attributes is measured. Cleanliness of urban environment has the dominant impact on satisfaction with the quality of urban environment while sewage disposal system has the least impact on satisfaction with the quality of urban environment. Facilities and equipment of housing is found to be the most important predictor of housing than the other attributes of housing. In this domain, owning a house has the least impact on satisfaction with housing. In the domain of education, access to educational facilities has the strongest impact on satisfaction with education while educational levels have the weakest. The quality of health services is recognized as the best predictor of satisfaction with health in comparison with the other identifiers. In the domain of personal wellbeing, security is found as the strongest predictor of satisfaction with personal wellbeing. It has been found that sense of belonging to the community is a strong predictor of satisfaction with participation. Access to public transportation has the most effect on satisfaction with the status of information and communications. In the domain of recreation and Leisure, access to cultural and art facilities is known as the most important predictor. Job security in the domain of employment is most effective on satisfaction with employment status. Finally the savings of the family is recognized as the most important predictor of satis- faction in the domain of income and wealth.

8 Conclusion

The process of urbanization is believed to be connected with levels of development and some assert that, for a country to develop there is the need for an increased level of industrialization and urbanization because according to the modernization school of thought, there cannot be urbanization without economic growth. The developed countries passed through this process and according to this approach, developing countries must do the same (Tettey 2005).


168 M. R. Rezvani, H. Mansourian

Urbanization especially in the developing world has been expanded in half recent century. The rural–urban migrations have been a significance role in expanding urbani- zation, creating big cities and metropolitans and especially slums in these countries. Such a process is caused the undesirable quality of life in big cities in developing world.

In most developing countries, the attention of planners to the spatial-physical decon- centratin in order to balance the settlement system, control the abnormal growth of metropolitans, decrease regional inequalities and rural–urban dualism, create new job opportunities, improve the QoL in cities and villages, decrease the immigration of villagers to large cities has led to different solutions as regards the distribution of population and urbanization. One of the most important solutions here is strengthening and supporting small towns in the urban network of the country.

In Iran to diminish such concentrations and its impact in national geography, some policies have been implemented including the supporting of the middle cities, the control and decrease of rural–urban migrations, the establishment of new cities, supporting of rural centers and finally changing villages to city.

The change or promotion of village to town and concentrate of services and facilities in these centers is to support of rural regions and also is according to the modernization theory and UFRD1 approach. The change and promotion of about 650 villages to town and city in Iran in three past decades was one of the policies to decentralization from big cities and metropolitans and to improve of quality of life in rural and deprived regions.

In this study, the role of promoting villages to towns in the improvement of QoL of the residents of Firouzabad and Saheb towns was considered. The results of this study show that the promotion of village to town has led to significant improvement in the QoL of Firouzabad town. In this town, except for the domain of health, the other nine domains have had a positive trend. Also in Saheb town, the promotion of village to town has relatively improved the QoL of the locals and we see positive changes in the six domains of quality of environment, housing, education, personal wellbeing, information and com- munications and income and wealth; however, in the four domains of health, participation, leisure and employment, no improvement is seen.

The subjective QoL, measured based on rational response of the people, was used for further analysis. The results of analysis in Firouzabad town show that 73.5% of the respondents believe that the promotion of their village to town has led to improvement in the general quality of their lives and only 3.9% stated that the general quality of their lives has worsened. In Saheb town, 16% of the respondents stated that the promotion of their village to town has led to improvement in the quality of their lives and 32% of them are dissatisfied with the quality of their lives. 64% of the people of this town stated that promotion of village to town has fulfilled their expectations slightly, 23% stated averagely and only 13% believe that their expectations were highly fulfilled.

Evaluating levels of satisfaction with the domains used in this study shows that the respondents in Firouzabad town are most satisfied with the domain of education with a mean value of 4.58 and standard deviation of 0.494 and are least satisfied with the domain of health with a mean value of 3.59 and standard deviation of 1.03. In Saheb town people are most satisfied with the domain of housing with a mean value of 4.26 and a standard deviation of 0.482 and are least satisfied with the domain of entertainment and leisure with a mean value of 2.15 and a standard deviation of 0.632.

Subjective QoL is the result of people’s satisfaction with various domains of their lives. Satisfaction with each domain is the result of satisfaction with the attributes of each

1 Urban Function in Rural Development (UFRD).


Developing Small Cities by Promoting Village to Town 169

domain. Therefore, the causal model of QoL for Firouzabad town is calculated based on multiple regression analysis. This model explains 57% of the variation in the subjective QoL of the locals after the promotion of village to town in the area under study. All the while, the effects of the ten domains under study on QoL are not similar. In Firouzabad town, satisfaction with housing, information and communication and income have the strongest causal effect on the QoL of the respondents. Satisfaction with employment and participation has the least effect on QoL. These findings show that any effort to improve the QoL in the area under study should first be concentrated on domains such as housing, information and communications and income that are most effective on QoL. In general, the findings of this study would be useful for designing the next studies of quality of urban life in Iran.


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