In this article the author intends to examine the relationship between development and population growth, land use and local planning in small cities in Iran. The main local challenges in Iran, such as the overuse of space and natural resources, unsustainable human settlement and the lack of due attention to cultural-historical heritage, are often the results of the imbalance between development and the above issues. In line with the results of previous and current studies (Fanni, 2003, 2006) concerning three small thinly populated cities in Khuzestan Province, Iran, it has been found that they are capable of providing employment opportunities, especially for their own citizens. Also, the author intends to study how this urban scale center can contribute to a balanced distribution of population and consumption patterns of goods and foodstuff, transportation and information processes. This study, which is based on library research and fieldwork, focuses on three small cities in Khuzestan Province in Southwest Iran.
Key words: Sustainable development, local planning, population growth, urban problems, small cities.
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