عنوان مقاله [English]
In contemporary times, rivers no longer play a role in regulating the spatial structure or the social organization of cities; consequently, riverbanks have been excised from the network of cities’ public spaces. This trend has led to phenomena such as the incursion of garbage, sewage, and effluent into rivers, infringement upon the rivers’ domain and bed, and has imperiled urban resilience through manifold environmental problems. In an era where environmental values are prioritized, rivers and their banks are of particular significance within the urban milieu. Modern urban planning And Design, while guaranteeing safety and comfort in an ideal urban experience, regards access to water as a special value that impacts the quality of urban life. In recent decades, the rejuvenation of urban rivers has been fraught with numerous challenges; however, fostering diverse activities in riversides, economically, socially, and ecologically, can transform them into dynamic, vibrant, and functional places. Sustainable usage of rivers in urban tourism development is essential to maintain ecological balance, encompassing the conservation of water resources, protection of biodiversity, prevention of pollution, and the correct employment of urban planning knowledge; because rivers alone are incapable of contending with the pollution generated by urban areas and adapting to technological changes. Therefore, for the revitalization of urban riverbanks, there is a felt need for an appropriate framework of strategies to enhance environmental quality and regulate urban riverbanks, in line with societal expectations, and developmental objectives, and harmony with public and private investments. The creation of recreational facilities, the regulation of river domains, and the enhancement of the security of the Zarjub River, as a powerful axis in its urban space, can play an effective role in the sustainable tourism development of the city and lead to the revival of rivers and the creation of connections between citizens and rivers. The city of Rasht, as one of the most tourist-friendly cities in the country, requires more attention to this matter. In this context, the Zarjub River, which is a linear and potent axis in the urban fabric of Rasht, can have a significant and impactful role in sustainable tourism development and the improvement of related indicators, given its potential. Considering the current lack of any specific plan for the organization and proper management of this urban river for sustainable economic productivity, research in this area is of great necessity. To this end, this study aims to identify and analyze the influential components of the Zarjub River in Rasht and to propose appropriate strategies in this regard, endeavoring to provide solutions for the revival of this valuable natural element and to utilize its potential for sustainable tourism development.
Materials and Methods
The current research adopts a mixed-methods approach, both quantitative and qualitative, with a practical objective, descriptive and exploratory, and cross-sectional in its temporal scope. For the gathering of information and data, this study employs two methods: library research and field survey through semi-structured interviews. Initially, an examination of related theoretical resources was conducted via library research. Subsequently, through theoretical saturation and the conduct of 15 in-depth, semi-structured interviews with experts in fields related to the Zarjub urban river—including urban planning, environmental science, and tourism—the influencing factors on the management of the Zarjub River were identified and categorized with an emphasis on sustainable tourism development, coding the data in MAXQDA software. Following this, the relationships between components and subcomponents were identified using the Decision-Making Trial and Evaluation Laboratory (DEMATEL) method. To construct the DEMATEL direct relation matrix, questionnaires reflecting the opinions of four urban planning specialists were utilized. Based on these relationships, a conceptual model was generated to delineate the components affecting sustainable tourism in urban rivers and their interconnections. Finally, based on the categorizations and analyses performed, strategies proposed during the interviews were drafted in alignment with the organization of the Zarjub River and were validated by the statistical population. Additionally, the sampling method for the statistical population of this research follows a snowball technique.
Various issues influence proper organization based on the development of tourism. Generally, the main results obtained from the interviews after encoding in MAXQDA software suggest the existence of 29 commonly recurring subcomponents among the opinions of the statistical interviewee population, across various categories. Accordingly, to provide an appropriate classification of the identified subcomponents, seven components in diverse domains were distinguished including amenities and recreational facilities, physical and infrastructure elements, economic considerations, environmental issues, institutional and legal support, security and protection, and public participation. Following the implementation of the DEMATEL method and according to the results obtained for the subcomponents, the factor “continuous and regular monitoring of necessary environmental actions for the advancement of the plan” ranked first in terms of impact, “catering to the needs of all age groups regardless of gender” came second, and “community participation” held the third rank as the most influential on other factors. Furthermore, “the feasibility of obtaining necessary permits for recreational tourism activities,” “protection of water resources,” and again the factor “continuous and regular monitoring of necessary environmental actions for the advancement of the plan” are respectively most influenced by other subcomponents. According to the results of the DEMATEL method in the main components section, economic discussions have the greatest impact on other components, whereas security and protection are most influenced by the others. In this context, security and protection, along with the environmental aspect, were identified as being influenced by other factors, and among all components, “security and protection” interacts the most with other components. The results from the cause-and-effect relationships between components affecting the organization of the river with a sustainable tourism approach have been graphically depicted in Figure One.
Based on the findings for organizing the urban river and riverbanks of Zarjub with a sustainable tourism approach, seven main influential components of the case study were identified. Among them, the economic discussion component had the most influence on others and interacted most with them. This happens while being influenced by components such as “institutional and legal support,” “security and protection,” “physical infrastructure,” and “amenities and recreational facilities,” positioning it as the most critical main component in organizing the river and riverbanks based on sustainable tourism development. Additionally, the “environmental” component was the most influenced by others, with the environmental level of the Zarjub River being overshadowed by the components of “economic discussions,” “institutional and legal support,” “security and protection,” and “physical infrastructure.” In the relationships between subcomponents, “continuous and regular monitoring of sustainability and environmental issues of the project during operation” not only had the most significant influence on others but in total showed the highest correlation with them, making it the most crucial subcomponent identified in this research in terms of both impact and susceptibility. Following the results for the subcomponents, “feasibility studies for permits necessary for recreational tourism activities” were identified as the most susceptible subcomponent, suggesting that various factors at all levels influence the potential issuance of necessary permits for the use of city riverbeds and margins. According to the proposed conceptual model, it is necessary to consider all factors concurrently and coherently among the identified domains, as the components and subcomponents found directly and indirectly influence each other, and sustainable outcomes cannot be achieved by overlooking a number of them. Lastly, given the strategies for implementing the intended approach, according to the components and subcomponents resulting from the research findings, appropriate strategies in four stages—identifying necessary actions, formulating strategies, execution requirements, and reviewing and monitoring based on objectives and oversight of the project—were outlined, answering the research question.