The Evaluation of the Effects of Implementing the Resettlement Policy in Rural Areas based on the Sustainable Livelihood Approach (Case Study: Central District of Avaj County)

Document Type : مقاله پژوهشی


Kharazmi University of Tehran



Throughout human life, there have always been threats to the lives of humans and their habitats. These threatening factors can be divided into two groups of natural factors and human-made factors. In the real-time locational process, these factors (flood, earthquake, fire, etc.) sometimes hit the human society and destroy their lives and activities. Hence, communities have used several policies and actions, including resettlement policy to protect villagers against all kinds of hazards when planning for settlements at risk, including the villages damaged or destroyed by natural disasters.
Different approaches can be used to assess the effects of the resettlement policy, one of which is the sustainable livelihood. In this approach, it is emphasized that any transformational factors, such as environmental hazards, will endanger the human community capitals (assets), and will lead to their weakness. The integrated orientation of this approach toward the five capitals and its emphasis on the structures and factors affecting the sustainable livelihood provide a framework which can be used as a proper basis for evaluating policies and actions.
This research was conducted with a sustainable livelihood approach with the aim of evaluating the effects of implementing resettlement policy on rural settlements in Avaj County and Qazvin Province in Iran (Abdare, Changureh, & Saeedabad, in 2016), which were relocated due to the earthquake in 2002.


This research has a positive paradigm and quantitative methodology based on a descriptive-analytical method and applied objectives. Documentations (libraries), cyberspace, and fieldwork were used for data collection. The data and the main and applied information of the research were obtained using the field method. The interviews and questionnaires were used for collecting data. The sample size was estimated using the Cochran formula as 212 households in three villages. Statistical methods such as run, Kolmogorov-Smirnov, path analysis, regression, independence of error, and Durbin–Watson tests were used in the SPSS software for data analysis. GOOGLE EARTH, GSMD, and ARC GIS were used to draw maps and introduce the study area.


Based on impact assessment (both direct and indirect), all independent capitals (influenced by settlement policy) has had effects on the sustainable livelihood. These effects have not been the same among the capitals. Here we will explain how they were effective:

Natural capital in the studied villages reached a good condition after displacement in terms of improving the position of the villages regarding slope and topography compared to pre-resettlement, vegetation and the absence of pollution (sound and air). This improvement led to the fact that the natural capital component strengthened the sustainable livelihood in villages only with its direct impact and β=0.600, which was slightly different from the β of the financial capital. It is worth noting that this component is not in good conditions due to the mountainous nature of the studied region, sloped farms and the resulted erosion of soil, and water scarcity and contamination in some cases.
The social capital of the studied villages was in good conditions after displacement in terms of support network and kinship relations, villagers’ interaction, security, trust among villagers, coherence, etc. It created the basis for the positive development of sustainable livelihood under the influence of those factors. The status of trust between villagers and state institutions, the freedom to express beliefs or social demands, participation in financial affairs, etc. were however in poorer conditions, which undermined sustainable livelihood. As a result, this component ranked fourth in terms of affecting sustainable livelihood (β=0.4331).
Human capital was in a moderate condition only in terms of the ability to provide clothing and food and has had a positive effect on the sustainable livelihood in some cases. Other components such as health, treatment, sports, leisure, innovation, competition, knowledge and skills, workforce, and training were in very poor conditions. As a result, human capital (with a beta of -0.1047) has negatively affected the sustainable livelihood.
The financial resources in the studied villages after displacement has somewhat improved in terms of private ownership of housing and the lack of informal activities, credits, and savings. Nonetheless, they are not in good conditions in terms of access to banks, insurance, occupation, etc. Having been affected by resettlement, financial capital, however, has been able to lead to the sustainable livelihood with a beta of 0.6256.
The physical capital of the studied villages after the displacement was in good conditions in terms of access to a paved road to the city, safe haven, access to electricity and healthy water sources. Ranked first with a total beta of 0.7948, it laid the ground for improving the sustainable livelihood. On the other hand, the physical capital component remained in bad conditions in terms of the waste collection system, access to gas, transportation network, etc. However, the improvement of the physical capital conditions of the village is undeniable as compared to the pre-displacement conditions.
An analysis of the correlation between the capitals and the sustainable livelihood has shown that the effect of physical capital was high, while the effect of natural, financial, and social capitals was moderate and the effect of human capital was poor.


Based on the findings, the following results were obtained:

Since rural settlements act as a system, they always follow different trends in the components (sub-systems) when influenced by events (including resettlement policy). Within the scope of the study, the trends were not formed in the framework of the sustainable livelihood. In this regard, some capitals had more favorable conditions than others. This event has not been able to meet the needs of the studied villages, therefore, an integrated approach to the implementation of this policy is necessary.
The orientation of the policy-making system towards the priority of environmental renovation in the displaced villages has provided the grounds for improving the conditions of physical capital.
Paying attention solely to the needs of the villagers from the viewpoint of external factors and the lack of attention to the demands of the villagers as well as seasonal migrations has reduced the sustainability of livelihood from the social aspects.


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