One of the adjustment policies aimed at reducing inequality and strengthening the existence of regions is to emphasize the flow of competitiveness based on specific legal, political, ecological, social, and economic characteristics among the urban centers. The current research was applied and has been conducted with an analytical method and a quantitative approach. Matlab 2019a, SPSS, and ArcGIS software were used to analyze the data, and the state of dispersion of competitiveness indicators was analyzed using the GWR method and particle swarm optimization (PSO). The results obtained from the investigation of social and cultural, legal, technological, political, ecological and environmental, and economic dimensions in the process of the regression model in determining the distribution of the mentioned indicators in the urban areas of the province showed that the output of the model parameters confirms the intended prediction to a high extent. According to the high coefficient of R2, it can be said that the dimensions of the population's competitiveness have largely focused on the occurrence of the mentioned indicators. Considering the increase in competitiveness along with the increase in the population and the demand for housing in the service area of the top cities - cities with more than 150,000 people (Urmia, Khoi, Bukan, and Mahabad) and the change in the movement of the flow, the competitiveness in the hierarchy of lower urban points is usually accompanied by an increase in periodic fluctuations. Among the 6 dimensions of competitiveness, the quality indicators of transportation infrastructure (PS4) (0.0277), agricultural development index (IL2) (0.0274), migration (S4) (0.0265), and competitive advantages of the tourism sector (F15) (0.0254) are known as the most important factors affecting the growth of urban competitiveness in the West Azerbaijan province. Extended Abstract Introduction In Iran, demographic changes have left a tremendous impact on the social-economic and physical structure of the country. The increase in population and their displacement and migration from deprived areas to prosperous areas has caused regional imbalances. The awareness of the importance of location in achieving competitiveness has caused attention to "territorial competitiveness" such as "globalization" in the scientific and policy fields of spatial development in recent years. The direction of the recent policies of Iran's spatial development at the national level, such as the regional and vision document and the plans of the urban group, is a proof of the influence of this trend. The concentration of facilities, services, and population of the province in the service area of the top 8 cities, and especially the metropolis of Urmia has disrupted the balance and spatial connection of the settlements and the spatial structure of the province. The population distribution in urban classes showed an unbalanced pattern of urban development. In this regard, the current research aimed to evaluate and analyze the influencing factors on improving the competitiveness of the development of urban areas and reducing the intra-regional inequalities in the West Azarbaijan province.MethodologyTo analyze the pattern of competitiveness at the level of regions and cities, the study indicators were first investigated and analyzed according to the statistics and documentary information from 2019 to 2020. After extracting the studied indicators according to the following issues, the indicators were operationalized and quantified according to the research objectives. Then, based on the competitiveness perspective, the strength of resources and capabilities and their strategic fit with intra-regional factors are prioritized solely on the power of these factors. Matlab 2019a, SPSS, and ArcGIS software were used to analyze the data. The dispersion of competitiveness indicators was analyzed using the GWR. Finally, the congestion optimization method was used to standardize the situation.Results and discussionConsidering the significance of the spatial effect of the population index, the increase in competitiveness in the urban areas of the province with the highest functional-spatial correlation showed a motivation to increase the competitive power in the intended city in the following statistical periods. Perhaps the most important reason for the occurrence of this phenomenon is the migration of residents of lower-hierarchy cities simultaneously with the increase of competitive power to higher hierarchies in the next period. Also, the intelligent advantage index *** (F12) (0.0168) along with population growth of the spatial effect of this variable in the dynamic model has a positive and significant influence on the competitive power. Perhaps one of the most important reasons for the considerable impact factor of population growth following the employment demand in Urmia on the competitive level of other cities compared to non-spatial models is the separation of the impact of this variable into two spatial and non-spatial dimensions. Therefore, the regional approach gives special features to competitiveness studies. In these studies, it is assumed that competitive power is regional and endogenous, and the models estimated in each city district are different compared to other regions. Also, in non-dynamic spatial models, it is not possible to calculate direct and indirect effects in the short term, and the reason must be found in the dynamics of dynamic spatial models, including the effects of political economy, especially the quality of business systems (F3) (0.0180) and innovation rate (F4) (0.0168). The estimation results showed that the spatial coefficient of population growth had a positive and significant effect on the competitive power, which indicated the population relationship among cities, and this coefficient is such that as the cities move away from each other, accessibility (slowing down the development force), the intensity of competitive dependence is reduced.ConclusionTo improve and promote urban competitiveness, the most important factors after economic development are geographical and ecological factors and urban population. The second factor in promoting and realizing urban competitiveness is the absence of centralism, justice in the distribution of basic services, and equal access from the perspective of regional management. Centralism, top-down planning, and considering and prioritizing big cities hinder the realization and expansion of intra-regional competitiveness. The existence of equal opportunities is the key to realizing and promoting urban competitiveness, and its absence plays a deterrent role. With a strategic and comparative view, it can be seen that the position of the cities has been on the rise compared to the past. Adopting measures and creating appropriate mechanisms to remove obstacles and strengthen competitiveness indicators should be focused on the urban-regional planning system. Implementation of complementary plans and projects of competitiveness in natural, geographical, historical, physical-spatial, religious, cultural, social, economic, scientific, and sports fields along with the regional development policy and parallel with the directions of aiming at the chain connection of settlements and creating spatial justice is one of the most important solutions to accelerate this flow.Funding There is no funding support.Authors’ Contribution Authors contributed equally to the conceptualization and writing of the article. All of the authors approved the content of the manuscript and agreed on all aspects of the workConflict of Interest Authors declared no conflict of interest.Acknowledgments We are grateful to all the persons for scientific consulting in this paper.
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