عنوان مقاله [English]
Since the 1990s, after both economy and society moved from Fordism to post-Fordism, a new paradigm emerged from the beginning of the new century. Due to the impact of the knowledge economy on urban communities, this paradigm known as knowledge-based urban development emerged in the late 20th century (Yigitcanlar et al., 2008a: 64). The knowledge-based urban development concept was considered as a practical management strategy for urban residents in various areas of sustainable social, economic, and urban growth along with the postmodern development of urban areas. Meanwhile, despite the benefits of superior information and communication technologies in urban areas and in particular the topics related to these technologies in accelerating the process of knowledge-based urban development, this factor can cause major challenges in balanced urban development. In this regard, one of the main obstacles in this area is the digital divide. The digital divide refers to the inequality in access of all members of society in terms of quantity and quality to information and communication technologies. In most societies, the right to create information is practically given to everyone, but distribution or sharing is taken away from them; hence, information resources are not used equally by society (Lievrouw and Farb, 2003: 414). Some societies deal with a deep digital divide in terms of information technology, which in turn impedes the realization of the city of knowledge. In various sources, the digital divide is mentioned as one of the barriers to a knowledge-based city (Butcher, 2009: 59 & Norris, 2001). Considering the above-mentioned cases, Tabriz metropolis needs to reach a variety of goals to become a knowledge-based city. One of these goals is identifying the impact of the digital divide on the concept of knowledge-based urban development. Therefore, the focus of this article is on the study of the effect of digital divide indicators on knowledge-based urban development variables in the city of Tabriz.
Data and Methods
In the present article, the structural equation model has been utilized to comprehensively study the conceptual model of the research. In this study, the opinions of 50 experts have been taken. To estimate the impact of digital development factors and gaps on each other, researchers created a 44X44 matrix by considering 32 knowledge-based urban development sub-indices in addition to the 12 digital gap variables within a system. Accordingly, after obtaining the outputs related to the expert’s opinions, these results were analyzed in MicMac software. Software outputs can greatly help to understand the dimensions and relationships of the system along with the way the system will work in the future in the various forms of tables and graphs (Rabbani, 2012).
Results and Discussion
According to the analytical results of this matrix, the variables including government influence, strategic planning, managerial interventions, broadband access, and social stability have the highest effect on the system. Furthermore, the most susceptible direct variables of the system include geographical location, urban competitiveness, foreign direct investment, economic status, research, and development. By observing the obtained results, it is easy to see the government’s role in positive or negative effectiveness in reaching the goals of digital city and knowledge-based urban development.
Additionally, the results obtained from the distribution chart of variables have the following points:
Determinants and influential variables (Located in the northwest of the Chart with High effectiveness and Low susceptibility): Management interventions, age, broadband access, cost of living, affordable housing, networking and strategic cooperation, justice, and social integration.
Two-fold variables (located in the northeast chart - high effectiveness and low susceptibility): urban competitiveness, quality of life, government impact, e-government, strategic planning, urban branding, etc.
Result variables (located in the southwest of the system- low effectiveness and high susceptibility): patent applications, worker knowledge pool, educational investment, basic professional skills, language skills, and socio-economic dependence.
Independent variables (located in the southeast of the system - low effectiveness and susceptibility): cultural and social norms, disability and physical ability, social stability, unemployment, environmental impact, use of sustainable transportation, etc.
To achieve structural knowledge-based urban development, the influential factors within this type of development are considered as an interwind or structure (system) to measure their inter-relationships due to enabling users to extract key variables of the system. In the present study, a variety of indicators were assessed for tackling problems related to the digital divide within the city and altering it to digital equity in Tabriz city. Those variables with the maximum effectiveness along with two-fold indicators have been chosen as key factors. A brief look at the concepts used in this study indicates that there is a conflict between the concept of the digital divide and urban knowledge-based development. In this regard, to eliminate this conflict, it is necessary to increase the efficiency of some variables. These variables include improving existing management tools and policies, strengthening the existing infrastructure for easy access to ICT by citizens, increasing people's skills and awareness, and finally strengthening the people's economic status by turning the digital divide into an opportunity along with providing a basis for the successful realization of knowledge-based urban development.