Measurement and Sociological Assessment of the Varamin City’s Resilience against Climate Change

Document Type : Full length article


1 Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, Faculty of human science, University of Zanjan

2 Associate Professor, Department of Physical Geography, Faculty of Geography, University of Tehran

3 PhD Student in Climatology, Faculty of Human Science, University of Zanjan


Over the last decades, increased urbanization and lack of accurate and comprehensive planning for develop and rapid population growth have caused cities to face many challenges. Urban sprawl, which began in developed countries around 1950, is currently experienced in almost all countries. Many studies on the impacts of urban sprawl indicate the emergence of harmful effects from this phenomenon, one of the most important examples of which that has an environmental nature is climate change. Most urban settlements are prone to future shocks and tensions due to climate change, lack of energy, and global population growth. Urban managers and planners’ response to these shocks and the course of action that municipalities should take in order to adapt to upcoming accidents and dangers are now discussed in “resilient cities” topic. A good number of cities have not yet addressed climate risks due to lack of relevant city policies and action plans, outmoded regulations on urban planning, lack of capacity to respond to climate disasters, and no public awareness. The area of Urban Climate Resilience Practice represents the conjunction of WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities and World Resources Institute’s Climate Resilience Practice. As for Iran, urbanization trends have accelerated during last decades by a high rate of rural-urban migration along with rapid socio-economic and political changes, leading to unbalanced urban growth in the country. Since resilience refers to a system’s ability to return to its natural conditions following an accident, the purpose of the present study is to test and evaluate the level of resilience of Varamin City in the face of climate change from its citizens’ viewpoint.
Materials and Methodology
The present research used two types of data, the first being climate components, gathered from Varamin weather station (annual average rainfall, temperature, etc.), and the second, involving components relevant to urban sprawl, such as urban area, population density, and urban population. These parameters were obtained from questionnaires, filled out by a total of 393 citizens of Varamin, making this study a descriptive analytical one. The 35-item researcher-made questionnaire that served as the research tool for data collection was based on previous studies and contained appropriate items to test each of the components. In order to validate the research population, the questionnaire was investigated and reviewed by professors and experts in multiple steps and both its face and content validity got confirmed. For assessing the questionnaires’ reliability, at first, 30 copies of the questionnaire were answered by Varamin citizens in a preliminary research. The obtained information were inserted into SPSS 21 and each response was assigned a score of 0-5. Following this analysis, the questionnaire reliability got estimated by means of Cronbach’s alpha, giving a score of 0.89, designed based on the environmental, socio-economic, infrastructure, and institutional components. Also SPSS 21 helped analyzing and prioritizing both descriptive and inferential analytical statistics for each components’ resilience, whose indices got calculated by the same software program as well. For so doing, it first used one sample T-test and then prioritized them via Friedman test.
Results and Discussion
Today, the correlation between human societies and their natural environment is strongly affected by urbanization and urban development. Cities could be regarded as ecological units to be studied within the framework of a data-retrieval system. That means in order to meet various needs of citizens, the city inevitably needs to provide massive data in key inputs, the most important of which include energy, food, and water.
Results from measuring resilience of Varamin City with an emphasis on climatic aspects showed that from the citizens’ viewpoint, the resilience was 2.15, falling below the desirable average level. This by itself indicates that the citizens consider Varamin vulnerable to climate hazards. Results from investigating resilience components of Varamin City showed that the environmental component and its indices were lower than the average level, too, and –according to the citizens—intensified drought and changes in temperature had the most negative effects on the environmental condition of resilience in Varamin City. Moreover, according to the citizens, Varamin City is vulnerable to increased temperature and drought, both of which ought to be taken care of, if  urban resilience is to be boosted. Meanwhile, the citizens believed that socio-economic and infrastructure components had higher resilience levels, compared to the environmental and institutional ones. The socioeconomic component and most of its indices were above the average level. So, according to the citizens, helping the citizens in case of critical situations and kinship are really significant for socioeconomic resilience of Varamin City when faced with climate changes. Results from investigation of infrastructural component showed that this component and most of its indices were below the average level. Therefore, it can be stated that this city is not in a good condition in terms of its infrastructure and is vulnerable in this regard. Furthermore, according to the citizens, the index of “access to health centers” was the most significant infrastructural index. Investigating the resilience level of the institutional component showed that all indices of the institutional component fell short of the average. Furthermore, Friedman Test scores indicated that from the citizens’ viewpoint, the municipal services in creating green space along with their satisfaction from the performance of the organizations, in charge of informing the people for facing hazards, had the highest significance in the institutional resilience of Varamin City. Although apart from the socioeconomic components, other components in the present study were lower than the average level since the environmental and institutional components were the least resilient components, strengthening them should be top in priorities of urban development plans of Varamin City.
Since climate change and its effects are increasing more than before in human societies, especially in urban communities, it is very effective and essential to investigate the indices and components of resilience, evaluate them when urban communities face future climate crises, and take preventive measures. Furthermore, the increase of general knowledge regarding climate change motivates people to investigate the effects of this issue even more. Therefore, the serious cooperation of the government, local entities, educational organizations, municipalities, and the media in increasing the citizens’ awareness will make the citizens respond significantly to reduce and adapt to the consequences of climate change through their participation.


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