عنوان مقاله [English]
Sustainable rural development based on information and communication technology can be realized as the enjoyment and use of ICT in the area of public services’ support, general management, and interaction between the planners and the rural community and it has to cause contingent participation of the villagers in the decision-makings, improvement of the social and economic development in the villages and protection of the natural resources for the future generations. On the other hand, the existence of spatial inequality in the enjoyment of the ICT-based facilities and services can cause diversion and imbalance in the development amongst the rural regions. In this regard and based on the investigations, it seems that Iran’s rural regions hence Jiroft County do not enjoy a so much optimal situation in terms of the ICT-based sustainable development indices despite possession of abilities like high populational potentials and agricultural economy. Therefore, the present study intends to adopt a novel approach towards ICT-based sustainable development concept for elaborating and valuating its indices in line with planning and achieving sustainable development; to do so, the position and the levels of rural region’s enjoyment in Jiroft County will be assessed and evaluated in terms of the distribution of the ICT-based sustainable development indices and an answer will be found to the following question:
How is the status of the villages in Jiroft County in terms of the ICT-based sustainable development level?
Data and Method
The present study is applied research in terms of the objectives and it is descriptive-analytical research in terms of nature and method. For collecting the information and data, use has been made of the documentary and field methods. The study area of the present research includes the rural regions in Jiroft County. For selecting the sample volume from the study population, two sets of villages, one with and another without ICT centers, were taken into consideration. In sum, 19 villages were found having ICT centers in Jiroft County until 2016; efforts were also made to select another group of the villages by considering several important indices (number of households, the village’s distance to the center of the county, and the village’s elevation from sea level) and some conditions similar or in contrast to those of the villages from the first set. In a match with the total number of the sample villages’ households, i.e. 16170 households, the study sample volume of this group was selected equal to 376 households based on Cochran Formula and the share of the questioned cases was determined in proportion to the number of households in every village.
After confirming the validity of the study’s operationalized framework, some elites’ ideas were gathered for determining the weight of the indices in proportion to the conditions of the country’s rural society. Next, COPRAS multiscale decision-making model was employed for analyzing the data and rating Jiroft County’s rural regions in terms of the ICT-based sustainable development. In the end, use was made of K-cluster analysis in SPSS Software’s environment for determining the homogeneous regions and, after determining the level of development in the studied villages, the weights obtained for every village were added within the format of a field to the layer of villages in ArcGIS Software and the results were offered in the form of a map.
Results and Discussion
In line with achieving the study’s objective and assessing the level of ICT-based sustainable development in Jiroft County’s rural regions, 17 indices were applied. The items related to each of the indices were measured in Likert’s scale and the mean of every index was considered according to the idea of the sample households in every village as a basis for the formation of a matrix indicating the status quo of the ICT-based sustainable development level and rating of the studied villages. In the second step and after the formation of the status quo matrix and to normalize the existent status quo matrix, the indices’ weight determination had to be seminally done. Based thereon, electronic instruction in the social aspect, electronic marketing in the economic aspect, and electronic risk management in the bioenvironmental aspect were found with the highest weights. Then, after finishing the calculational stages of the COPRAS decision-making model, the villages were rated based on Qj’s amount; this way, the villages with the highest amounts of Qj and Nj were found in the highest ranks of ICT-based sustainable development and, on the contrary, the villages with the lowest Qj, were found in the lowest development ranks. Moreover, use was made in this part of Nj for performing K-cluster analysis based on which the studied villages were categorized into five clusters in terms of ICT-based sustainable development level. Therefore, considering the results of the cluster analysis, it can be stated that 8 villages fall in the cluster “developed”, 11 villages in the “relatively developed” cluster, 6 villages in the cluster “intermediate (normal) development”, 8 villages in the “relatively deprived” cluster and, finally, 5 villages in the “deprived” cluster in terms of the ICT-based sustainable development.
The study results indicated that the rural regions of Jiroft County enjoy a different situation in terms of ICT-based development. Based on the study’s investigations and observations, it can be stated that villages like Dwolatabad Esfandagheh, Dowlatabad Markazi, Daryacheh, Doboneh, Poshtlor, Hosseinabad Dehdar, Ferdows and Saghdar that have the highest development levels under the current conditions enjoy auspicious environmental and spatial states like good position on the plain, high groundwater levels, suitable soil, closeness to the city center and appropriate connective routes and they have also accommodated more population. The aforesaid villages also have better situations regarding cases like ICT infrastructures and equipment, trained human workforce, and services offered in the area of ICT. In opposite, villages named Abshour, Kohan, Hishinsofla, Darrehroud, and Abbasabad that enjoy the lowest level of ICT-based development from the perspective of the study sample volume are small and distant villages usually located in mountainous regions and often with unstable populations. Weakness in access to ICT-based equipment, facilities, and services, as well, in the aforementioned villages is an evident phenomenon. The collection of these conditions have caused the witnessing of different levels of ICT-based sustainable rural development in the rural regions of Jiroft County. The collection of the indices offered in this research can be utilized as a pattern for analyzing the level of ICT-based sustainable development in the other rural regions; additionally, this collection can assist the rural development planners in offering development programs and policies.