Assessing the Spatial Development Plan's Outcome on Regions' Sustainability Status Using Ecological Footprint Method, case study: Qazvin Urban Region Plan

Document Type : Research Paper



Population growth on the one hand and the emergence of unstable behavior patterns on the other hand have been caused appearance of many environmental problems. So considering the concept of sustainable development means development within environmental constraints, is necessary. In order to fulfill the objective of regional stability, both indices “ecological footprint” as an approximation of the status of the environmental demand, by measuring the needs of individuals to variety of land to meet their and also “biological capacity” as an approximation of the state of the environmental supply, through estimating ability of the regional environment and ecosystem to meet the needs of individuals(Production of useful vital materials and residual absorption) are considered an important tool to display communities sustainable status and thus decision-making and policy-making for development of regions. Strategic environmental assessment during the preparation of Urban and regional spatial development plans is one of the possible means to fulfill the sustainability status of settlements; But the record of regional development plans prepared in Iran shows that the most of them ignored sustainability considerations.
So far in different countries, several studies using ecological footprint method is done to diagnose the sustainability status of regions and monitoring changes over time; Which can be noted evaluation of ecological footprint in metropolitan region of Barcelona during 1994-2000 by Muniz and Galindo(Muñiz & Galindo, 2005). Also in 1993, the ecological footprint of Santiago was calculated, according to national estimates of Chile by Lewan and others. Zurong, and Jing in their study entitled "ecological footprint and reflections of green development in Hangzhou" have calculated the ecological footprint in Hangzhou city from 1988 to 2008 focused on ecological footprint method. In Iran, Sasanpvr in his doctoral thesis entitled "evaluation of Tehran metropolis with ecological footprint method" has investigated the sustainability status of Tehran city. In another study also Jmhpvr and others has examined the stability of Rasht region using ecological footprint method. As well as Samadpur has assessed the environmental impacts of increasing population density and urban constructions particularly High-rise buildings in urban areas and neighborhoods in Elahieh region of Tehran, using the ecological footprint method. A review of documents indicates that the dominant approach in most of previous studies globally and in Iran is assessing the sustainability status of region in the current situation with a descriptive approach or investigating changes compared to the past. However, the assessment of future conditions arising from the implementation of development interventions in the region(as one of the methods used in foresight situation in the region) is an effective and helpful step in the modification and revision of development programs and Directing it toward a sustainable society. With this introduction, ahead research research agenda With the aim of inclusion of sustainability considerations in development plans,has dedicated to assess probable changes resulting from the implementation of Qazvin Conurbation plan on the sustainability status of region in the plan horizon.
The plan has been prepared with the aims of organizing, control and guide the development of population and activity centers located within the area of 1,400 square kilometers of the central district of Qazvin county and all Alborz county, with the centered of Qazvin city, by Naghshe Jahan Pars Consulting Engineers, and passed by the Supreme Council of Architecture & Urbanism of Iran On 26.12.1392 Solar date. Qazvin Conurbation population is 658,841 people in 1385, and in this plan is estimated equivalent of 917,190 people in 1410. In the case of Implementation of Qazvin conurbation plan, the area of cropland grazing and forest Land will decline from 1251 sq km in the origin year to 1069 sq km in the destination year. These land use changes will reduces Conurbation biological capacity In these years. This is increasingly important particularly due to the higher yield and equivalence factors of this category of land on the supply biological needs of the resident population of the region.
Innovation of ahead research is the method of calculation of the ecological footprint in addition to efforts to assess the impact of development plans and estimate the future status of regional stability resulting from the implementation of development plan; In this study, assuming that ecological footprint of different communities is proportional to the consumption patterns of different social strata, after social groupings of the population of the Case Study, total ecological footprint of Qazvin Conurbation is calculated using stratified sampling method and its generalization to the entire group, By applying a yield and equivalence factors derived from Global Footprint Network website.
With regard to the results of research, In order to compensate the ecological deficit and achieve sustainable status, two planning solutions categories for supply and demand sides can be taken on the agenda of regional developers as follows:
• Demand-side solutions; minimizing the ecological footprint: the solutions of this category with the aime of reducing the population consumption, are divided into two groups. The first group is strategies for attracting selective population, and advanced and more responsive requests to environmental problems in the regions by increasing the quality of life and environment in conurbation; and other is Solutions related to modified the pattern of development and population demand. In this regard, there can be negative and positive policies, such as; monitoring the development of regions and land use change (environmental patrols), prevention of vegetation damage and change, and urban sprawl to environmental assets; Acceptance infill development approach in cities, increasing citizen awareness and decreasing advertisements for consumerist patterns, emphasis on reuse and recycling of resources, promotion of sustainable modes of transport, identifying patterns of sustainable regional development, Identifying low watery activities and agricultural products, voluntary commitment to global and international agendas in relation to the environment, efforts to develop local indicators, and finally increase costs of energy and water resources; in this regard, spatial development plan will have a significant role.
• Supply-side solutions; Increase the biological capacity: the solutions of this category which are pursueing in more developed countries and communities, seek to increase the biological capacity through innovative solutions. In this regard, we can refer to two policy categories; policies that attempt to raise the capacity of environmental services through the carbon sequestration by natural and artificial methods, re-afforestation and creation of forest land in capable zones and increasing the supply of green spaces and vegetation in population and activity zones with the aim of helping to air purification, and other policies that attempt to raise the capacity of environmental resources through methods such as increase to use of renewable energy instead of fossil fuels, increase the efficiency of the six lands and so on.
Finally, it should be noted that the role of regional spatial development decision-makers will be very important.


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