Sustainable rurality in the Mousa Abad watershed of Torbat Jam County

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Rangeland and Watershed Management, Faculty of Natural Resources and Environment, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran

2 Department of Rangeland and Watershed Management, Faculty of Natural Resources and Environment, Water and Environment Research Institute, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran


Introduction: Residence in a village or rural evacuation are phenomena that have affected the socio-biological life in any village or city. One of the reasons that convinces individuals to stay in their villages and solve the problem of rural evasion is the creation of a suitable living environment in rural areas. The main purpose of any rural development planning is to improve the quality of life of rural people via the identification of factors that enhance and facilitate its implementation. On the other hand, to tackle problems of migration and overpopulation in cities, one must turn to sustainable ruralism. Rurality can be influenced by some components such as social capital (social trust, social cohesion, and social participation), culture, economic, welfare, and natural attraction. This study investigated the impacts of these factors on villages and their living conditions. It also aimed to identify the factors influencing the sustainability of the rurality phenomenon.
Material and methods: The villages at the watershed of Torbat Jam County were selected as statistical pilots in order to survey sustainable rurality. The inquiry was quantitative research based on the type of data collected and analyzed, and a field study in term of the type of problem encountered. According to the Cochran formula, 228 households were selected as the samples. Based on the sample houses on the map, they were random systematically surveyed.
Results and discussion: The findings showed that rurality conditions are hard to be sustained because of many social-biological challenges. According to the results, the social, cultural, economic, political, welfare, and natural attractions of the villages are influential factors on sustainable ruralism, which may impose rurality or rural evasion approaches with different ratios. In this study, components’ impacts on rurality were calculated, from high to low, as social trust, cultural, social welfare, natural attraction, social cohesion, economic, and social participation, respectively. For example, one of the factors affecting the quality of life of rural people is the type of relationship they have with other individuals in the villages and their social affiliations. Based on our findings, social trust, which emphasizes on cooperation and cooperation among people, was identified as the most important factor influencing sustainable rurality. Therefore, their participation and positive attitudes can be achieved by increasing social trust. Furthermore, it increases the success of rural development projects and decreases their costs due to high cooperation. On the other hand, participation in social affairs is a form of commitment and acceptance of individual and social responsibility that enhances social trust, and all individuals are forced to accept it in such a way that individuals abandon personal interest for the benefit of the group. Consequently, participation among individuals is a prerequisite in the development of every country, whether in the whole or even in the micro sector.   
Conclusion: Main conditions for rural development are social trust and the existence of participation among inhabitants in rural areas. Socio-biological attachment and belonging among people can be achieved through education and awareness of people about the basis of social trust and ways of participation and its consequences, creating an open room for criticism and decision-making, as well as encouraging group activities. However, it can be emphasized that identification of factors affecting sustainable rurality is a step towards planning for the sustainability of rural development


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