Shiraz Environmental Resilience of the March 2019 Flood Hazards; through Landscape Approach, Systems Theory and DPSIR Model

Document Type : Applied Article


1 Ph.D. Candidate in Landscape Architecture, School of Architecture, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

2 Assistant Professor of Architecture, School of Architecture, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

3 Professor of Architecture and landscape design, Department of Environmental Design Engineering, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


Both ‘resilience’ and ‘landscape’ are conceptually complex terms. The concept of resilience is defined differently across different disciplines [41]. These definitions include a range of meanings such as rigidity, coherence, bouncing back, bouncing forward or transforming forward [32]. The definitions of the word landscape have also been different from the perspectives of different disciplines. These definitions range from objectivism to subjectivism.
According to the definition of the European Convention of 2000 and systemic and holistic approaches, landscape is known as a phenomenon that is the result of human interaction and perception of the environment [26]. This approach is systemic and holistic and considers it impossible to separate objectivity and subjectivity. Although this definition may not seem challenging, the landscape system is complex, dynamic, and chaotic.
With the global climate change and the expansion of cities, natural hazards and crises and the resulting damage have been on the rise [11]. Since in a complex system such as a city, disruption of any part of the system could lead to the disruption of the whole, [11] it is necessary to examine climate hazards along with human risks in a systematic and holistic perspective. Recent studies in the field of environmental risk and hazard management, unlike the past, have taken the direction of improving resilience [1، 8], and this shows the importance of resilience concepts.
This article, by combining systems theory with AIDA and DPSIR models in a comparative process with the destructive flood event of March 2019 in Shiraz, explores the main parameters of Shiraz resilience and the relationships among such parameters together with the exploration of the Shiraz resilience and the consequences of the flood.
Considering that the landscape is the result of the users perception (citizens) of events and environment [31], the view of Shiraz flood was examined from the perspective of Shirazi citizens (both ordinary people and experts).
Given that the landscape system is a complex system consists of i.e. social, environmental, political, economic, legal, technological systems, and complex communications and processes and the occurrence of events such as butterfly effects; hence, the study of such a system involves great challenges. Therefore, the reaction process of the landscape system against risk factors such as floods through systems theory in combination with the DPSIR and AIDA model was investigated.
Since the Landscape approach refers to human understanding of the nature, and objectivity in general, the information required must be the result of human perception. Data were collected and obtained through field observations of citizens' behaviors. There were also 50 in-depth interviews with the affected people, as well as an analysis of the content of the lectures and panels that took place right after the floods in Shiraz. Finally, the resilience of Shiraz against the flood was explored based on the field observations and documentations including the interviews and the content analysis of three lectures and four specialized panels.
Results and Discussion
Driving Forces of Shiraz's landscape system in the March 2019 floods can be divided into two main categories. First, the driving Forces belonging to the objective (physical) realm, including physical flood damage to residential homes, cars, streets, and some infrastructure (in the form of accumulation of water and mud). Second, the driving Forces in the realm of the mind, including shocks caused by the sudden death of a number of compatriots during Nowruz 2019, the psychological damage experienced by Saadi district residents and people's grief during Nowruz, which indirectly affected other social and economic processes.
Therefore, during the terrible flood in Shiraz in March 2019, the landscape of Shiraz was examined along with the the people’s responses. Perception of time, environmental state and human needs as the three main parameters of Shiraz landscape in the crisis situation were identified. People’s responses were the result of their decisions based on their awareness, their interest and the outcome of the three main parameters.These parameters and their relationships, as well as its conceptual model, are explained in the main text of the article.
If a driving force such as a flood enters the landscape system, it is received as pressure in the landscape system. This pressure creates a special state in the environment, which results in destruction of and/or damage to the environment. The environment left or preserved from the destruction, or the capacity left in the destroyed environment, or even accidentally created by the destruction, shapes the state of the environment. Humans, based on their thoughts, beliefs, needs and interests, and their perceptions of the crisis and the amount of time they have to react to the crisis, and of course, with the intervention of emotion, perceive time and enter the decision-making process. In this process and in accordance with the AIDA model, decisions are made based on awareness and interest and actions are taken.
The Shiraz city was physically and economically damaged due to the March 2019 flood. The structure of the city was not damaged or rapidly returned to its original state. There was not much of economic impact on the body of the city and the people (except for Saadi neighborhood), and the assistance of charities and people to the affected people and areas was satisfactory.
Regarding to its social impact, the incident increased people's solidarity, their sense of belonging to each other, and their city of residence. People's behavior was not racist.This flood led to the formation of a series of events and specialized meetings of architecture and urban planning in Shiraz, which led experts to take a holistic view of the flood hazards.
Crisis management began hours after the flooding of the Quran Gate. There was no disturbance in the management of the people's and institutional crisis.
In a holistic analysis, it can be said that the shock to the people during the floods in Shiraz, caused a severe emotional leap of the people, as they were not mentally prepared to face the crisis of the flood due to successive droughts, especially in the happy days of Nowruz. This caused a huge emotional leap and empathy in the people. Emotions led to quick and timely actions by the people. As a result, the physical environment returned to the normal state more quickly. It seems that people, institutions, and the organizations involved performed well in terms of coordination in response to similar crises.


[1].  Landscape Atlases, Landscape identification, characterisation and assessment method, Ministery of  Sustainable Ecology Developpement and Energy; Retrieved in’’ 2019
[2].   Adger, W. (2000). Social and ecological resilience: Are they related? Progress in Human Geography, 24, 347–364.
[3].   Aldunce, P. Beilin, R. Handmer, .J. and Howden, M.(2014) "Framing disaster resilience: The implications of the diverse conceptualisations of “bouncing back”", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 23 Issue: 3, pp.252-270,
[4].   Bodin, P. and Wiman, B. (2004), “Resilience and other stability concepts in ecology: notes on their origin, validity, and usefulness”, ESS Bulletin, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 33-43.
[5]. Bürgi, M., A. M. Hersperger and N. Schneeberger (2005). "Driving forces of landscape change - current and new directions." Landscape Ecology 19(8): 857-868 .
[6]. Council of Europe, (2000). European Landscape Convention, ETS 176. (accessed 26.08.13.).
[7]. Dhar, T. K. and L. Khirfan (2017). "A multi-scale and multi-dimensional framework for enhancing the resilience of urban form to climate change." Urban Climate 19: 72-91. .
[8].   Ghouchani, M., Taji, M., Yaghoubi Roshan, A., & Seifi Chehr, M. (2020). Identification and assessment of hidden capacities of urban resilience. Environment, Development and Sustainability. doi:10.1007/s10668-020-00752-8
[9]. Heider, F. (1977), cited in Dewey, R. A. (2007), Psychology: An introduction; Chapter Four – the whole is Other than Sum of the Parts. Retrieved 4/12/2014
[10].             Jones, L., & d'Errico, M. (2019). Whose resilience matters? Like-for-like comparison of objective and subjective evaluations of resilience. World Development, 124, 104632. doi:
[11].              Jones, B. A. (2015). Benchmarking organizational resilience: A cross-sectional comparative research study. NEW JERSEY CITY UNIVERSITY . Retrieved from
[12].            Klein, L.R., Hendrix, W.G., Lohr, V.I., Kaytes, J.B., Sayler, R.D., Swanson, M.E.,Reganold, J.P., (2015) Linking ecology and aesthetics in sustainable agriculturallandscapes: lessons from the Palouse region of Washington, USA. Landsc.Urban Plann. 134, 195–209.
[13].            Labaka, L., J. Hernantes and J. M. Sarriegi (2015). "Resilience framework for critical infrastructures: An empirical study in a nuclear plant." Reliability Engineering & System Safety 141: 92-105.
[14].            Manyena, S.B. (2006), “The concept of resilience revisited”, Disasters, Vol. 30 No. 4, pp. 433-450.
[15].              Masnavi, M.R.; Gharain, F.; Hajibandeh, M. (2018) Exploring urban resilience thinking for its application in urban planning: a review of literature, International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology 16 (1), 567-582.
[16].            Moghimi Ebrahim,(2015) Hazards Science, (for living with better quality) University press, Iran.
[17].            Moghimi Ebrahim (2017),Why Hazards Knowledge (Is hazardology an inborn characteristics)?Univercity of Tehran. Iran, Environmental Hazards Management, Vol.4,No.1.
[18].            Piégay, H., A. Chabot and Y.-F. Le Lay (2018). "Some comments about resilience: From cyclicity to trajectory, a shift in living and nonliving system theory." Geomorphology.
[19].            Shamsuddin, S. (2020). Resilience resistance: The challenges and implications of urban resilience implementation. Cities, 103, 102763. doi:
[20].              Távora. Gabriel S.G., Turetta. Ana Paula D.,(2016) An approach to map landscape functions in Atlantic Forest—Brazil, In Ecological Indicators, Volume 71, Pages 557-566, ISSN 1470-160X,
[21].            Thomas, J. E. (2017). Human resilience and development in coupled socio-technical systems: A holistic approach to critical infrastructure resilience (Order No. 10270061). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (1896531801). Retrieved from
[22].            Thomas, John E.; Eisenberg, Daniel A.; Seager, Thomas P. )2018( "Holistic Infrastructure Resilience Research Requires Multiple Perspectives, Not Just Multiple Disciplines." Infrastructures 3, no. 3: 30.