The Politics of Classification and the Complexity of Governance in Census Towns

by Gopa Samanta – full text here

Review of Urban Affairs, Economic & Political Weekly, Vol – XLIX No. 22, May 31, 2014

Spontaneous urbanisation through the transfer of capital from the agricultural sector to the commercial sector has given rise to a large number of census towns in West Bengal. These settlements are cases of denied urbanisation, where the territory takes an urban shape but infrastructure and services remain poor under rural local governments that lack resources. Some of these towns retain their census town status for decades, and basic services are neglected until they achieve urban status. Based on empirical research carried out in Singur, a census town in West Bengal, this paper looks at the nature of urbanisation in these towns and tries to trace the role of politics in controlling access to urban status. It also explores the complexity of governance in census towns and surrounding urban areas.

Patterns and Practices of Spatial Transformation in Non-Metros: The Case of Tiruchengode

Bhuvaneswari Raman – full text here

Review of Urban Affairs, Economic & Political Weekly, Vol – XLIX No. 22, May 31, 2014

Urban transformation in Tiruchengode town in Tamil Nadu has been predominantly driven by processes internal to it. It has been driven by growth of the town’s economy and the practice of entrepreneurs investing in land for capital accumulation. The process described in this paper reinforces the theories of subaltern urbanisation and in situ urbanisation. While the role of the town’s entrepreneurs, local landowners, and politics have been significant factors in shaping the evolution and development of its economy, the transformation story has also been shaped by supra-local flows of capital and labour from the region.

Articulating Growth in the Urban Spectrum

Partha Mukhopadhyay and Anant Maringanti – full text here

Review of Urban Affairs, Economic & Political Weekly, Vol – XLIX No. 22, May 31, 2014

In the last 10 years, the share of large million-plus cities in India in the total population has increased and not because of the growth of existing large cities, but because new million-plus towns have emerged – indicating that “near million” cities are a source of growth. The share of the population in towns below 1,00,000 has also grown, and within these smaller towns, the share of the population of census towns has increased from 19% to 36%. Growth, in short, is occurring across the urban spectrum – a reminder of the need to move away from metro-centricity (Bunnell and Maringanti 2010). These small towns are not simple settlements – their economy is multifaceted, politics knotty and social relations complicated. The papers in this issue of the Review of Urban Affairs highlight different aspects of this complexity.

At the frontiers of Urban Space Proceeding

Aux frontières de l’urbain / At the frontiers of Urban space

Avignon (France), 22-23 January 2014

Conference proceeding / Actes de la conférence

Download here: http://www.geo.univ-avignon.fr/Coll-Villes_Actes.htm

At the International conference “At the Frontiers of  Urban Space. Small towns of the world: emergence, growth, economic and social role, territorial integration, governance”  were exposed various issues concerning the bottom of the urban hierarchy:

  • Comparative approach: India, Europe, Africa, Latin America…
  • Small towns, networks and mobility
  • Small town and land issues
  • Urban systems and hierarchies
  • Emerging towns: genesis and history
  • Role of politics, role of spontaneous urbanisation
  • Small town economy
  • Small towns and sustainable development

City Forgotten: The Fate of Small Towns in India’s Urbanization

September 23, 2013 · by Ayona Datta

Late one evening, my academic partner Abdul Shaban, his research assistant Noor Alam and I reached Malegaon in a hired car via a long dusty road off the Mumbai-Nashik highway. We lost our way several times even though both Shaban and Noor Alam had been to Malegaon several times earlier, but the nondescript nature of the road and the journey through fields and industrial setups in the dark can confuse anyone. We reached Malegaon finally by asking local passers-by, who assured us that this was indeed the road to the infamous town.

Aux frontières de l’urbain. Petites villes du monde

Appel à textes/call for paper

La revue Territoire en Mouvement prépare un numéro intitulé « Aux frontières de l’urbain. Petites villes du monde ». Volontairement ambiguë, cette formulation invite à questionner à la fois le thème des petites villes et celui des marges de l’urbain. L’objet de cette recherche est défini aussi bien « par le bas » que « par le haut », c’est-à-dire, par opposition classique au monde rural autant que par rapport aux grandes métropoles. En effet, ces dernières ont eu tendance à devenir une icône surmédiatisée de la ville. Mais, abstraction faite de ces organismes exceptionnels, qu’est-ce qu’une simple ville ? Constitue-t-elle un ensemble flou et transitoire ou représente-t-elle l’avenir d’une société urbaine ? L’appel à textes est proposé par François Moriconi-Ebrard, directeur de recherche au CNRS, UMR ESPACE (UMR 7300) et Cathy Chatel, post-doctorante au Centre d’Estudis Demogràfics (CED) de Barcelone.

Smaller towns and rural areas are a gold mine that foreign automakers are yet to tap efficiently

Global automakers scour India’s backroads in search of dream market

By Aradhana Aravindan, Reuter,  Sun Feb 2, 2014

As economic torpor suffocates demand for new cars in India’s megacities, incomes are growing faster in small towns and country areas. That’s pushing the likes of General Motors  and Honda Motor Co to fan out in search of buyers in places where fewer than 20 people in every thousand own a car – for now.

On the Spatial Concentration of Employment in India

S Chandrasekhar and Ajay Sharma
Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai
January 2014, WP-2014-002 full text here

This paper seeks to understand what kind of economic activities are concentrated in which regions of India. Spatial concentration of jobs is measured by calculating the location quotient using information on the industry of work of the individuals in a region. The paper uses data from NSSO 2011-12 survey of employment and unemployment.

 

Handbook of Urban Inequalities (in India)

By Darshini Mahadevia and Sandip Sarkar, in Oxford University Press,2012.

Nearly all urban data used for the purpose of economic analysis, urban policymaking, and investment decision-making are aggregated data. Urban systems, however, are heterogeneous and complex, which requires more nuanced responses. This handbook reprocesses NSS household-level schedules to develop disaggregated data sets for different size classes of urban centres. Comparing changes in the pre-reform and post-reform periods, the book analyses the inequalities between metros and non-metros with regard to consumption, poverty, employment, education levels, and services.
With detailed and meticulous data analysis covering the last 25 years, the book covers:
The importance of small and medium towns (SMTs) in urban development and urban poverty trends across major states in India.
Head Count Ratio (HCR) and per capita monthly consumption expenditures for different size class of urban centres in 16 major states in India.
Employment patterns and unemployment levels across different size classes and disaggregated by sex.
Level of basic facilities in different size classes of urban centres pertaining to water supply, sanitation, and garbage collection; and
Patterns of urban inequalities and their policy implications.

1. Urbanization, Urban Poverty, and Small and Medium Towns
2. Consumption Patterns and Urban Poverty
3. Distribution of Employment Patterns and Growth
4. Educational Opportunities and Economic Well-being
5. Access to Water and Sanitation
6. Emerging Patterns and Policy Implications

Small town water services: Trends, challenges and models

by Marieke Adank (2013) for International Water and Sanitation Centre, Thematic Overview Paper 27:  full paper here

Relatively new and emerging categories of human settlements, such as small towns, may require a different set of service arrangements to facilitate the provision of water. In this paper, Marieke Adank presents the main features and understanding of what constitutes “small towns” to determine the most appropriate water service arrangement for this new phenomenon. Findings of the paper point out to challenges in developing a clear typology for small towns and assigning one single model for delivering small town water services. Amidst this layer of ambiguity however, Adank draws examples from different arrangements serving “small towns” in countries, and provides compelling evidence that: a) different models and arrangements have been tested and have worked; b) there is a growing role for private sector involvement; and c) there is a need to revisit institutional and regulatory frameworks, as well as funding models, to finance capital maintenance. This paper concludes with a list of resources for further reading, and provides contact details of some organisations whose work focus on “small towns”.

Exclusionary Urbanization and Changing Migration Pattern in India: Is commuting by workers a feasible alternative?

By Ajay Sharma, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research

Paper presented at the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population Conference, 2013, Busan (Korea)

paper: available here

For developing countries including India, United Nations projections of urban population have been on the higher side. Based on such estimates, it was conjectured that India would witness a large migration from rural areas. Yet, during 2001-11, nationally representative surveys did not record large increase in rural-urban migration. Hence, the share of urban population increased marginally from 27.8 to 31.1 percent over 2001-2011. This increase however masks important undercurrents.
Two predominantly urban states of India and few important urban agglomerations reported their lowest ever population growth rate over the period 2001-11 while Mumbai recorded an absolute decline in its population. Since lower total fertility rate cannot explain this phenomenon, two plausible explanations are out-migration from cities and reduced rate of in-migration to cities (Kundu 2012). With cities unwelcoming and anemic employment growth in rural India, an alternative, albeit effective livelihood strategy (where feasible) is commuting daily from rural to urban areas for work. Nearly 12.5 million workers cross the rural-urban boundary for work every day while 12.2 million workers report not having a fixed place of work. Such movement of workers is fast developing as an important and new channel of interaction between the rural and urban
economy.

The future of India’s urbanization

By Elfie Swerts, Denise Pumain & Eric Denis – Géographie-Cités, Paris

Futures, 2013

In 2050, urban India will be home to fourteen per cent of the world’s urban population. In less than thirty years, half of India’s population will have to cope with urban life and there will be tremendous transformation of landscape, economic structure and social life. In order to forecast India’s urban future, we assumed that secular and contemporary growth trajectories of all individual urban agglomerations are key drivers of future urbanization trends. We demonstrate that India’s city-system conforms to the distributed growth model and that its hierarchical distribution is evolving regularly. India’s plurisecular city-system fits well with the canonical model that describes universally the system dynamics. It shares common characteristics with several mature urban structures around the world. We show also that the location of the town has little influence on its growth trajectory. Nevertheless, individual trajectories can be classified, either by the secular trend of towns (1901-2011) or on the basis of the more recent genesis of the contemporary urban agglomerations landscape (1961 to 2011). These classifications are structured over time and space according to subsystems and regional specificities.

Tindivanam and the agriculture: toward diversification?

A Master Thesis by Simon Perrier, 2012

Under the supervision of Frédéric Landy and Kamala Marius

UP10 – University Paris 10, Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense

Full text access in French here

Tindivanam est une ville moyenne indienne de 70000 habitants située dans le Tamil Nadu, à 40 kilomètres au nord de Pondichéry et à 120 kilomètres au sud de Chennai, à l’intersection de deux autoroutes. Elle est le chef-lieu d’un taluk à très forte densité rurale, où l’agriculture occupe une forte proportion des familles. Les cultures maraîchères, et d’autres cultures commerciales, ainsi que des usages non agricoles, occupent une part croissante des terres de la région, aux côtés de l’arachide et du riz, traditionnellement cultivés. Des progrès considérables ont d’ailleurs été institués pendant la “Révolution verte” pour améliorer les rendements de ce dernier. Tandis que l’alimentation des Indiens est en grande partie basée sur les céréales et protéagineux, deux procédés de commercialisation qui permettent aux paysans de mieux vendre leurs productions maraîchères ont vu le jour à Tindivanam il y a quelques années. Il s’agit d’un “marché paysan”, concept de vente directe quotidienne destinée à la population locale, mis en place par le gouvernement tamoul, et d’un centre de collecte d’une grande chaîne de supermarché, Reliance Fresh, où les légumes livrés par les paysans sont destinés à alimenter les magasins de l’enseigne situés dans les métropoles. L’étude s’intéresse à l’impact que l’implantation de ces deux marchés peut avoir sur l’espace rural autour de Tindivanam, en se demandant comment l’un et l’autre, avec leur fonctionnement propre, modifient les pratiques et stratégies des paysans. Cette question nous permet de nourrir une réflexion quant à l’échelle à considérer pour comprendre les processus en cours dans l’espace rural de cette région du Tamil Nadu septentrional. On se base notamment sur une enquête de terrain menée dans le village d’Ural, et au sein des deux marchés.

 

 

The Golden Quadrilateral Highway Project and Urban/Rural Manufacturing in India

by Ejaz Ghani, Arti Grover Goswami and William R. Kerr

The World Bank, Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network, Economic Policy and Debt Department, September 2013

Policy Research Working Paper 6620

This study investigates the impact of the Golden Quadrilateral highway project on the urban and  rural growth of Indian manufacturing. The Golden Quadrilateral project upgraded the quality and width of 5,846 km of roads in India. The study uses a difference-in-difference estimation strategy to compare non-nodal districts based on their distance from the highway system. For the organized portion of the manufacturing sector, the Golden Quadrilateral project led to improvements in both urban and rural areas of non-nodal districts located 0–10 km from the Golden Quadrilateral. These higher entry rates and increases in plant productivity are not present in districts 10–50 km away. The entry effects are stronger in rural areas of districts, but the differences between urban and rural areas are modest relative to the overall effect. The productivity consequences are similar in both locations. The most important difference appears to be the greater activation of urban areas near the nodal cities and rural areas in remote locations along the Golden Quadrilateral network. For the unorganized sector, no material effects are found from the Golden Quadrilateral upgrades in either setting. These findings suggest that in the time frames that we can consider—the first five to seven years during and after upgrades—the economic effects of major highway projects contribute modestly to the migration of the organized sector out of Indian cities, but are unrelated to the increased urbanization of the unorganized sector.

 

 

Subaltern Urbanisation in India