Department of Natural Resources, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, Iran


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Environmental sustainability is an important program of the United Nations to achieve sustainable urban development. It is important to understand the complicated relationship between the urban ecosystem and the natural environment to solve the environmental problems of cities. Owing to its ecological origin, the establishment of ecological parks plays an essential role in sustainable urban development as it aims to support the spiritual needs of citizens, advocate the life of other species, and minimize the manipulation of nature. This study aims to identify and prioritize important ecological, physical, economic, and social criteria in the eco-park of north-central Iran. Due to its topographic features and specific climate, it provides different habitats for wildlife and has ability to protect biodiversity in the urban ecosystem.
METHODS: There are currently intentions for biodiversity compensation in urban planning due to public opinion and species extinction problems. However, scarce studies are available to reinforce this fundamental concept in urban management. This study aimed to determine and prioritize Alborz eco-park components in north-central Iran. In this research, the indicators were selected by fuzzy Delphi, using multivariate decision-making, entropy technique, and TOPSIS. 
FINDINGS: Based on the TOPSIS method, among environmental-ecological criteria, the highest rank belonged to the ex situ conservation of animals in the urban climate and biodiversity enhancement (relative closeness to ideal solution = 0.621). Eco-park establishment along the Chalus road and Hemmat superhighway was the design and physical criterion with the highest score (relative closeness to ideal solution = 0.696). From the socio-economic view, increasing the understanding of human-nature unity was the highly scored criterion (relative closeness to ideal solution = 0.767).
CONCLUSION: The eco-Park is not only about conservation but also about large-scale restoration of nature. The implementation of this new generation of parks in response to local environmental concerns regarding location, physical aspects, design, and wildlife conservation will help transition to sustainable urban development. The north-central eco-park of Iran can be used as a model for the development of sustainable urban ecosystems.           


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