Impact of mobility system on sustainable development of polycentric region in developing countries, the case of Mazandaran province, Iran

This study investigates the impact of mobility systems on sustainable development in developing countries' polycentric regions, focusing on the interplay between mobility and environmental, economic, and social indicators. To address research questions and validate assumptions, the research utilizes the Mazandaran polycentric province in Iran as a case study, employing a dedicated methodology for its execution. 

Distinct indicators have been selected for each aspect of sustainable development. 
Economic and social indicators are obtained from public statistical resources, while 
indicators about the environment and the mobility system have been developed due to a lack of publicly available data. The region's urban sprawl trends have been analyzed to address environmental indicators. This involves assessing the negative consequences of sprawl, particularly regarding land use change and urban development, to gather valuable statistics on the utilization of lands and environmental impacts. In addition, the development of the mobility network in the Mazandaran region has been considered for mobility system indicators. 

Quantitative and qualitative data on environmental indicators (sprawl) and mobility 
indicators (area and length of the mobility network) in the Mazandaran region were 
obtained by analyzing satellite photos from 1995 to 2020. Remote sensing techniques were applied within the Google Earth Engine platform to interpret these photos and extract the necessary statistical data. 

The study highlights a substantial correlation between the polycentric structure and 
the expansion of built-up areas, urban sprawl, land use change, and mobility networks within urban centers. This reciprocal relationship is accelerating environmental degradation in the Mazandaran polycentric region. The increased number of trips between these centers underscores the need to develop mobility infrastructure. Statistical analyses indicate a strong association between economic indicators and the province's mobility network, presenting potential economic prosperity with enhanced mobility. The province witnesses massive land use changes and rural-to-urban migration linked to transportation network expansion and increased employment opportunities. While the polycentric spatial configuration facilitates migration, contributing to employment growth, the study recognizes the potential instability, cautioning that mass migration could impede long-term sustainable growth in economic and social dimensions. 


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