The Fundamental Characteristics of the Rural Landscape through Application of Grounded Theory (Case Study: Historic Village of Furg)

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of Urban Planning, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Art, Tehran, Iran


Introduction- Over a long period of time, rural landscape has been established by the relationship between nature and humans. Landscapes are recognized as a part of the natural, historical, cultural, and scientific heritage. The rural landscape patterns are particular contexts because of having cultural characteristics. Humans have survived by gathering wood and grass for fertilizer, fuel, fishing in the rivers, creating agricultural fields, burning woodlands and construction materials. They expanded the agricultural fields by managing water and rural forests serve as the sink of resources used by humans for daily life and agriculture.
Nowadays People do not need organic fertilizer and housing materials as before. As local residents in rural areas tend to use modern technology, preservation of cultural values and natural attractions should not be underestimated, so many criteria must be considered in order to achieve sustainability.
The rural landscapes are particular due to cultural characteristics. The definition of landscape can be identified as an area where is the result of nature and human interaction. The rural landscapes are particular due to cultural characteristics. As local residents in rural areas tend to use modern technology, preservation of cultural values and natural attractions should not be underestimated.
In rural contexts, primary activities such as agriculture and forestry are no longer the only ones that influence landscape structures. Some rural areas have potential value due to outstanding nature and unique landscape; While soil fertility and the capacity to produce goods were the basis of landscape appreciation in the past, it is now aesthetic, environmental, and heritage qualities which make landscapes appreciable.
Human manipulations of the nature which are basically due to socio-economic development have been on the rise in the world since the industrial revolution. These have affected the rural ecosystem entity, by decreasing biodiversity, destroying amenities, and so on. While local residents in rural areas tend to use modern technology and development, preservation of traditions and cultural values, use of local materials and methods of building and conserving the natural attraction points should be highly emphasized.
Materials & methods- This research was done by describing the process of developing a methodology for investigating the fundamental characteristics of the sustainable rural landscape in historic village “Furg”. It is vital to study those areas where have undergone the least changes in order to refrain further unnecessarily changes and retain sustainability in both cultural and constructional sectors.
Furg is a village in Darmian Rural District, in the central district of darmian county, south khorasan province, Iran. Furg Castle is located on the north side of the Village at an altitude of 1840 meters on the edge of the heights of Darmian Valley leading to Asadiyeh plain. It has a good strategic situation, because it has a commanding view of the entire village, farms and roads around its eastern region.
The researcher documented the process and illustrated an individual’s search for the method that would suit the research problem. Some qualitative researchers believe that in-depth qualitative research is especially well suited for revealing higher-level concepts and theories that are not unique to a particular participant or setting.
The “grounded theory” and “participant observation” are the qualitative methods that particularly suited to the areas of rural social research. Grounded theory is an analytic method for constructing theories from inductive qualitative data. Data collection and analysis inform each other in an iterative process as researchers make their ideas. It has been done with Memo-writing and Theoretical sampling; Memo writing to elaborate categories, specify their properties, define relationships between categories and identify gaps. The new features enhance the brief sections headed by clear section headings.
Discussion & Results- This research reviews the backgrounds and meanings of “fundamental of landscape characteristics in Furg.
The rural landscapes have become a space with different functions from those of past. There are many criteria which must be considered in order to achieve sustainability; such as specific cultural backgrounds, which have influenced on the settlement patterns of regions and countries. The main driving force in landscape change is the human impact on rural landscapes. The changes in agricultural systems and socio-economic environments in rural landscapes, have led to changes in rural ecosystems.
As a result, human activities in the areas create special features in rural landscape. The research analyzed the rural landscape and finally indicates the main characteristics that shape the unique landscape of Furg village; and shows that the landscape is seen here as symbols of these bachground.
The nature and the special manner of lives have reduced the possibility of cultural interference; as a result it keeps their old customs and traditions. Thus, unlike other countrys’ rural areas they did not replace the building materials.
The results show that Furg's rural landscape is based on characteristic features; including: "Homogeneity of Village Texture with Context", "Rise of Architectural Pattern by Land and Climate Form",” lack of diversity of agricultural perspective", "Overcome beliefs and opinions on the development of the rural landscape" and "security-based development perspective and their influence on rural landscape".
Conclusions- Each part of the landscape has its distinctive character, which offers a unique sense of place. Current condition of a landscape can be a reliable indicator of future trends and areas in need of further attention. The economy of rural areas has always been strongly dependent on natural resources exploitation.
In recent years the lifestyles of most people in rural areas have changed due to modern technology. Recent technological advancements in exploitation, loss of rural livelihood, and increased social demand for the amenity aspects of these resources have dramatically changed rural landscape and visual quality. The cultural change has affected the form and appearance of villages. Many villagers have left to bigger towns and cities. The main issue is that changes are growing very rapidly.
Furg has maintained its original architecture, traditional customs and the language. They have barely changed due to the isolated location of the village. This study calls for further research to establish stronger links between sustainable landscape theories and rural sustainability. Despite the limitations, we believe this framework is a useful approach to rural landscape sustainability.