ISSN: 2717-4417

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Urban & Regional Planning, Faculty of Architecture & Urban Design, Art University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran.

2 Department of Social Sciences, Faculty of Literature & Humanities, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran.



- A systematic classification of studies based on questions of what, why, and how with a systematic review and qualitative meta-analysis.
- The importance of reviewing the phenomenon of segregation from a wide range of dimensions (physical-spatial, political-management, and socio-economic).
- The importance of qualitative research explaining whats, focusing on conceptual modeling, and modeling measurement.
- The importance of research explaining whys, and focusing on identification and examination of the contextual factors affecting segregation.
- The importance of research explaining hows and identifying and examining the policies and effective trends according to all the dimensions.
An inherent characteristic of cities, segregation pertains to the social distance between residents and their physical separation. When this phenomenon prevents some groups from accessing services, activities, and spaces, it leads to urban problems. Due to the interdisciplinary nature and large scope of this phenomenon, many researchers from different expert groups have investigated it in the past three decades. Although the number of studies is not small, it is important to note the dispersion of the principles and topics and the lack of coherent conceptual frameworks as a result of the variety of relevant specialties. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to study the diagnostic status of the scientific Persian articles addressing the concept of segregation and to analyze the nature and quality of these research topics and present a systematic categorization thereof.
Theoretical Framework
The review of the literature shows different concepts proposed for definition of segregation. In the middle of the 20th century, segregation was first recognized as a social issue (Legeby, 2013), the main purpose of which is to investigate the distinction between two demographic groups (Feitosa et al., 2007) or the separation of several groups (Morgan, 1975; Sakoda, 1981; Jargowsky, 1996; Reardon & Firebaugh, 2002). In the 1970s, new studies were conducted for identification of the causes of the segregation of social groups, linked with spatial analysis (Morgan, 1975; Sakoda, 1981; Jargowsky, 1996; Dupont, 2004; Lima, 2001: 494; Reardon & Firebaugh, 2002; Smith, 2009: 682; Romero et al., 2012: 76).
Depending on whether one has the freedom to choose to separate, segregation can happen in two ways: voluntary and involuntary (Izadi et al., 2016: 83; Lotfi & Ghazaei, 2019: 20). Therefore, segregation includes various dimensions, such as socio-economic and spatial dimensions, in which terms it has been investigated in recent studies under the title of socio-spatial segregation.
Systematic review is made using regular methods to identify, select, and critically evaluate the conducted research and collect and analyze the obtained data in order to respond to a specific question (Crocetti, 2016: 3). A function of this technique is to examine the history of the research and extract and summarize it to improve the approaches to the study to obtain appropriate results (Ghazi Tabatabaei & Vadadhir, 2010: 59). Generation of the meta-analysis involves the statistical analysis of a large set of results from individual studies, which is performed for integration of the findings (Glass, 1976: 3). Although this technique is usually considered as part of quantitative methods, however, it can also be used for qualitative approaches (Tizchang & Azam Azadeh, 2020: 10).
The qualitative research approach is adopted here. The method of data collection is based on the basic text type using documentary methods. The systematic review and open coding techniques were used for data analysis, followed by qualitative meta-analysis. For this purpose, 50 Persian articles based on the topic of segregation and published from 1996 to 2021 were selected and reviewed in 15 categories. The research was conducted in four stages. First, all available information from the selected studies were collected and summarized. Then, classification and coding was performed based on the evaluation parameters (principles and categories) in two groups of structural and content features. Next, all the information extracted from the studies were processed, analyzed, and interpreted based on their frequency and percentages. Finally, the research questions were answered.
The structural section sought to investigate the general characteristics of the selected articles to explain the state of research in the field of urban segregation in Iran using the results. The content section attempted to outline the researchers’ views of the original concept, research method, type of research, attributes used for segregation, type of main question, thematic principles, and aspects investigated in the field of segregation.
Results and Discussion
The findings helped to categorize the selected articles based on the types of their main questions (what, why, and how) in the form of 5 main thematic principles. These principles include investigating the concept and methodology of segregation, examining the lived experiences of residents, identifying background factors affecting the formation of segregation, and investigating the relationship between segregation and contextual factors affecting it. In addition, the evolution of the concept of segregation in the research conducted in the field was divided into four general periods: early, middle, late (current period), and future, which were then compared. Socio-spatial separation was defined on that basis. The results demonstrate that segregation is an interdisciplinary, multifaceted, context-oriented issue involving socio-economic, physical-spatial, and political-management dimensions. In the current research conditions of the country, there is need for qualitative research on subjects such as conceptual and measurement modeling of segregation (to explain what it is), identifying and investigating the background factors affecting segregation, including the structures and compositions of cities (to explain why), and identifying and examining policies and trends effective on segregation (to explain how) considering all the dimensions. In this case, it is possible through a correct understanding of the concept to more precisely investigate its spatial patterns over time in the fields of urban development, planning, and design.
Since segregation is an interdisciplinary discourse, many researchers from different fields have investigated it from their specialized perspectives. The necessity of using methods such as meta-analysis can be explained by the large, increased amount of available research, the authors’ different views of the subject, and the need to summarize and combine them and to identify the repetitive and problematic research areas. The results of the research demonstrate that there are still many ambiguities about the meaning of segregation despite the abundance of research and urban science experts’ greater concern in the past ten years. This is confirmed by all the results highlighted in this research, concerning the use of different Persian translations of the concept, multiple attributes involved in its description, and unclear optional or mandatory aspects of the phenomenon. Therefore, it is necessary to review the multifaceted phenomenon of segregation in Iran in the form of new issues, taking into account its wide range of dimensions, to obtain a better, more accurate, more comprehensive understanding thereof.


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