The Revision and Application of City Prosperity Index (CPI) Considering the Characteristics of Iranian Society: The Case Study of over 100 Thousands Populated Cities of North-Western Iran
Article Type:
Research/Original Article (دارای رتبه معتبر)
City is a social realm on a natural context which is erected by human beings to fulfil their basic needs along with well-being, comfort and social relations. In the process of hasty urban growth and while the world moves into urban age, an array of problems and difficulties against genuine development. Thus, urban development as one of the most important global challenges is considered and its measurement is a controversial issue among policymakers and planners. During last decades, a variety of Indices to measure the level of development among cities has been proposed and applied. At the beginning, the economic indices were prevalent, since development was correlated with economic growth, especially GDP and income per capita. Gradually the deficiencies of this reductionist view became evident, recognizing other interrelated and imperative aspects. This results in proposing composite indices with social and environmental components as well as economic one. Later with the growing consensus about the unsustainability of existing urban growth, the theoretical umbrella for measuring city development has become sustainable development paradigm. Also, underlining both subjective and objective dimensions on one hand and emphasizing community-driven development on the other hand bring about the need for a holistic and inclusive index to embrace the ultimate outcome of development being happiness and satisfaction and in a more generic term, prosperity. In this regard, following experts’ dialogue at United Nations Human Settlements Program (Habitat), a new index labelled as “City Prosperity Index” (CPI) introduced in 2013 flagship report. The composite index of CPI comprises of five indices in the following dimensions: productivity, infrastructure, quality of life, equity and social inclusion, and environmental sustainability. It is emphasized that all these dimensions should be seen interactive and balanced in a wheel shape. UN-Habitat’s wheel of prosperity symbolizes the well balanced development of the five dimensions of prosperity, the current condition of which is measured through the City Prosperity Index (CPI). The ‘outer rim’ of the wheel absorbs the cumulative forces transmitted through the spokes – the five dimensions of prosperity. It provides some level of direction and symbolically contributes to guide the city towards a more prosperous path. Whereas CPI depicts strength and weakness of cities in each of five dimensions separately, it is considered as a strong tool for policy making to show the priority fields to guide the cities towards genuine development and its outcome prosperity.
In the same vein, Iranian cities also have experienced fast growth and uneven development during the past decades exacerbating unsustainable development. It seems in light of CPI, a better measurement of development level of cities can be achieved to guide the policy makers for concentrating on most important shortcomings. At the same time, the comparison between cities, urge the backward cities to emulate the upper cities’ policies in these measurement. At the same time, since comprehending development is a culturally sensitive issue, measuring development should be contextualized according to the targeted society. The authors argue that the cultural aspect with more emphasis on the subjective side of grasping development is crucial to Iranian citizens and therefore, we have added a sixth dimension to CPI wheel. In other words, a city may enjoy all the five dimensions of CPI still missing the psychological health and social serenity. The sixth index named health and was added to CPI.
In this article, we have attempted to revise and apply CPI for cities with more than 100 thousands residents in north-western region of Iran. The research method is descriptive-analytical, using secondary data for the said cities in 3 provinces of Ardebil, East Azerbaijan and West Azerbaijan. To apply Iranian CPI, 65 variables turned into indicators in six dimensions. To classify the cities, RALSPI model which was recently developed by two Iranian scholars (Dr. Taghvaei and Dr. Sheikh-beiglou), was carried out as a method of multi-criteria decision making.
According to this model, first by applying fussy method, the indices were de-scaled and then for each indicator of Iranian CPI, 2n+1 class of development was determined and the maximum and the minimum scores for each of the 6 indices were calculated. The weight of each variable/indicator was determined by applying AHP (Analytical Hierarchy Process) technique and the general score for each of the 6 indices was calculated through dividing the total weights of variables by the maximum possible scores in each group. Finally, the average scores of all 6 indices were calculated as the value of Iranian CPI for each of the cities in this research.
Results and discussion
The findings of this research indentify 6 classes of cities ranging from strong to weak performance in terms of Iranian CPI. This means sharp inequality among cities in this region from the viewpoint of prosperity. Tabriz as the capital of East Azerbaijan has the highest score at the first class, Then, Uremia as the capital of West Azerbaijan has categorized in the middle class. Khoy, Maragheh, Ardebil (Capital of Ardebil province), Mahabad, Miandoab, Marand and Boukan, all these cities fell into the lowest class, showing a serious cleavage. The findings indicate the regional disparity and uneven development in this region while the concentration of development facilities in the large cities is evident. Also, having said that only one city classified in each of the high and the middle classes, a kind of polarization process can be seen.
The achieved results shows that most number of cities are in the lowest class of Iranian CPI. This cities performs less in dimensions of infrastructure, quality of life and health. So, the first priorities suggests in said dimensions and the other dimensions of productivity, equity and social inclusion and environmental sustainability considers in the next priorities. The study suggests the priorities for policy makers to uplift the situation of these cities. The disintegrating the Iranian CPI of each city into 6 indices and measuring each one separately enable the urban managers to discrete the field of actions towards bringing about prosperity to the cities in the future.
Human Geography Research Quarterly, Volume:50 Issue: 105, 2018
555 - 572  
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