Utilizing Quantitative Patterns for Spatial Analyzing of Population in Spatial Planning of Rural Settlements Case Study: Khorasan Razavi Province



Spatial studies as the main tools for the detailed study of all tangible and intangible aspects of regions have special ranks among all kinds of planning. The conformity of this organization with physical environment forms the spatial structure of which is usually observed as a distributed and isotropic spatial structure, focus and polar, unbalanced and haphazard, random and balanced, spatially localized, decentralized and hierarchical (Asayesh, 2000, 146).
In Iran, due to disparities in quality and quantity between urban and rural areas that have been intensified by transformational processes during recent decades, the need of finding ways out of the problem and mitigate disparities, especially in rural areas is discussed. Having spatial insight in planning and considering how to modify the size and space of rural settlements, considering the role and function of each large or small village in the settlement system and its relation to distribution of facilities on the one hand, and responsibilities on the other hand, has been emphasized as a scientific solution by many experts (Saidee, 2008, 1).
Surveying the position of rural settlements in a geographical space is among the main priorities in spatial analysis of rural settlements in different areas. Recognizing the effects of demographic changes on spatial structure of rural settlements is the first step toward understanding the spatial organization and its consequences (Ganji, 2009, 58). Because ever changing phenomenon of population, as well as transformation in form of both place and time mobility, there will be permanent changes (Nick Kholgh, 1995, 45). The Khorasan Razavi Province is an example of the men timed issue. According to the census of Iranian Statistical Center (2006), the population of rural areas in the province is about 1780 thousand of total). 8.4%. This province includes the most rural population compared with the others. On the other hand, the average rural population of the province is 491, and in comparison with the country's (348%) shows difference. Studying rural population census in the period 1986- 2006 indicates that despite increasing population of the province during the period, the rate of rural population declines significant effects on the spatial distribution of the rural population and its classification.
An important feature of this research is considering spatial dimensions of the mentioned changes. Accordingly, the research studies the population trends over the period 1986 to 2006 in terms of population, rural population levels, demographic trends, the number of villages and their average population in rural settlements.

In this study, a descriptive - analytical method is used, based upon the information to evaluate rural settlements in the period 1986 to 2006 in terms of population changes; and furthermore using of the entropy and the Gini coefficients as well as GIS and cluster analysis it has tried to analyze spatial geographical changes in Khorasan Razavi province, regarding for mat ion of the villages and rural population.

The findings of this study are divided in two parts: recognition of population changes of rural settlement and analyzing the spatial changes of population.
A) Studying the trends of population changes in the period 1986 to 2006
Rural populations have been reduced since 1996, and the growth rate is -3.2%. During 1976 to 2006, the total number of rural settlements of less than 500 persons has declined and in contrary the number of villages with more than 1000 persons has increased. Of course, this situation has changed slightly over the period 1996-2006. Calculations show the rural settlements with more than 1,000 persons in the period 1976-2006 has risen 87.4%. The rate of rural settlements of less than 500 and 500 to 1000 were respectively -8.3 and 5.3 percent. ). In this relation, the research results have explanted the increasing or decreasing of village’s role based on demographic levels during period 1976 to 2006.
B) Reviewing and analyzing the changes in spatial distribution of settlement’s population in the province
According to studies, rural settlements have experienced major changes in population in the period 1976-2006. This indicates the movement from small-scale villages to large ones. The results of this analysis indicate the area of low populated settlements has considerable decreased during the mentioned period, so as it has been reached from 90,299 square kilometers in 1976 to 70,704 km in 2006 (nearly -22%).
Changes in population structure and spatial distribution of rural settlements in Khorasan Razavi are the main issues in the policies and strategies as well as regional and local decision-making. The findings of this study in Khorasan Razavi Province show that:
• The pattern of rural settlements in recent years indicates that the area of low populated has decreased from 90,299 square kilometers in 1976 to 70,704 in 2006, (-22%). On the other hand, the large village’s area in the province, with 301 percent growth over the same period has been increased from 2,947 square kilometers to 11,815. Based on the entropy and Gini coefficients calculations, these transformations reflect the changing of the rural demographic structure toward accumulation, polarization and concentration in specific areas.
• The spatial changes in rural demographics structure indicate the formation of three different spaces. First, the spaces have little or no change in population. These spaces have been distributed in most parts of the province. Second, spaces have negative changes in population, which includes parts of west, north-west and the center at resin of the province. Third, spaces with population growth show positive changes in this regard, and includes east and southeast portions of province.
• The policies which should be considered based on regional and over regional analysis, are as follows:
? Development of transportation network (air, rail and road);
? Development of Higher Education;
? Development of tourism;
? Open communication between the county and region;
? Strengthen regional development centers;
? Decentralization of Mashhad Metropolis; and
? Designing administrative systems.
So, the considered issues can be enumerate the key issues in regional and local planning of the province spatial structure that should be get together the economic, social, physical and environmental attention aspects too.