Tag Archives: small towns

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”.

Biting the hand that feeds: India’s small towns favor opposition

By Krishna N Das and Shyamantha Asokan in REUTER

From Kasba Bonli, Rajasthan, India, Sunday November 10, 2013

Kasba Bonli is a newly prosperous market town in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan and it should be a perfect advertisement for the ruling Congress party’s pro-farmer policies. Instead the buzz in the bazaar is for the opposition.

The Urbanisation of Rural China

China Perspectives 2013/3, Special Feature

For the first time in history, more Chinese people now live in towns and cities than in rural villages. Reaching 51% in 2011, urbanisation in China is accelerating. Convinced that this holds the key to the country’s ongoing social and economic development, China’s leaders recently announced an urbanisation target of 70% (approximately 900 million people) by 2025. However, leaders including Premier Li Keqiang have emphasised that future urbanisation would be characterised not by an expansion of megacities (dushihua 都市花), but by growth in rural towns and small cities (chengzhenhua 城镇化). The Party is essentially seeking to take the cities to the rural populace rather than bring the rural populace to the cities. Following the policy announcement at the 18th Party Congress in November 2012, a group of national ministries has been tasked with developing guidelines for promoting the urbanisation of rural China.

The challenges of urbanisation may be even greater in small towns

 

by Jayati Ghosh, The Guardian, Tuesday 2 October 2012

Global urbanisation has prompted a focus on megacities that overlooks the needs and vulnerabilities of smaller settlements.

Most of the policy discussion concerning global urbanisation has focused on megacities. And certainly, these huge and historically unprecedented agglomerations create a whole host of new requirements and vulnerabilities that have to be addressed creatively and equitably. But if we are too focused on this single issue, we may lose sight of another emerging problem likely to explode in the coming years.

Increases in urban population reflect three separate forces: the natural rise in population within urban areas; the migration of rural dwellers to urban areas; and, as settlements expand and become more densely populated, the reclassification of rural settlements as urban. All three forces have been at work to varying degrees. But where the third factor is significant, it creates a particular problem, because the administrative machinery for urban areas seldom exists for such settlements.

Slumdogs and small towns

By Kalpana Sharma in infochange, Urban India, April 2009

Little is known or written about the 2,000 small and medium towns of India. The one characteristic that defines them all, says this report from towns such as Madhubani, Jhunjhunu and Sehore, is the absence of planning. Many of these towns do not even possess an accurate town map. And up to a quarter of their population lives in slums.

In Madhubani town in North Bihar, the longest lines are outside one of the four ATM machines dispensing instant cash.  In Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan, many people keep their own cows or buffaloes for milk because they do not trust the local milk supply.  In Narnaul, Haryana, there are dozens of beauty parlours and one of the women nominated to the municipal council is a trained beautician.  In all three, the most popular advertisement is for mobile phones.

 

India’s small towns – symbols of urban blight

By Kalpana Sharma in infochange, Urban India, October 2008

68% of India’s urban population lives not in the metros but in towns with population of less than 100,000, many of which get water for a few minutes once a week or every alternate day. No one even talks about the appalling absence of infrastructure in these towns Most of us have a stereotypical image of small-town India.  Pitted roads, piles of garbage, open drains, stagnant pools of water, overhead electric wires, long power-cuts, acute water shortage etc.

That image is now changing with the success stories from small towns that the media is celebrating.  So Bhiwani in Haryana is suddenly in the news for having produced Olympic medal winners and other towns are home to amazingly talented young people who win television reality shows.  Dozens of our cricket stars come from smaller towns and cities, bringing to them a touch of glamour that they have never seen before. Of late there is also a touch of notoriety attached to small towns with a place like Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, once known for being the home of distinguished writers and poets like Kaifi Azmi, now being given the ‘terror’ tag and Bhatkal in Karnataka being mentioned as the home of the ‘mastermind’ of the Indian Mujahideen.

Emerging Consumer Demand: Rise of the Small Town Indian

This White Paper from Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Nielsen India, titled Emerging Consumer Demand: Rise of the Small Town Indian (2012) takes a closer look at how the smaller Indian towns are leading the demand surge and shopping like metros. I believe, one of the inherent strength of the Indian economy – private consumption expenditure, will continue to remain the strongest pillar of the Indian growth story. Sustaining this consumption story is the rise of the small town consumer.

The Indian consumption landscape in the small towns is dramatically changing – higher disposable income, demographic dividend of a younger generation, heightened aspirations, increasing urbanization resulting in a growing number of nuclear families – all important and key factors leading this development.

Eight thousand towns, 630,000 villages, over eight million stores and 1.2 billion people! In such a diverse consumer universe, how do you measure demand, where is it strongest? North vs. South, the metros vs. Rural – the choices are endless. Nielsen has found that despite current inflationary environment, tier II and tier III towns are showing strong momentum with an improved demand appetite.

Rural-Urban Dynamics, poverty and smaller towns

Global Monitoring Report 2013:  Rural-Urban Dynamics and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

 Key message of the GMR 2013:

In the past two decades, developing countries have urbanized rapidly, with the number of people living in urban settlements rising from about 1.5 billion in 1990 to 3.6 billion (more than half of the world’s population) in 2011. The report finds that urban poverty rates are significantly lower than rural poverty rates and that urban populations have far better access to the basic public services, such as access to safe water and sanitation facilities, even though within urban areas asymmetries in access are large. If the forces of urbanization are not managed speedily and efficiently, slum growth can overwhelm city growth, exacerbate urban poverty, and derail MDG achievements. As the GMR points out, however, people are located along a continuous rural-urban spectrum, and large cities are not necessarily places where the urban poor are concentrated. Smaller towns matter greatly for urban poverty reduction and service delivery. GMR 2013 calls for an integrated strategy to better manage the planning – connecting – financing formula of urbanization.

Power of the rurban

An article of  The Indian Express, Mon Apr 22 2013

The fast expanding grey area between India’s urban and rural segments — you could call it semi-rural or rurban — is increasingly determining the shape of India’s democracy as well as market economy. This aspirational segment has grown faster than you could imagine and the people here are consuming and voting robustly. The 2009 National Election Study by CSDS found that the much touted “urban voter apathy” was a misnomer in the semi-rural areas with urban characteristics. This segment not only recorded, on average, 10 per cent higher voting than metros like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore, it also saw higher voting than the rural constituencies.

Rural-Urban Dynamics and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

Global Monitoring Report 2013:  Rural-Urban Dynamics and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

Friday, May 3, 2013
02:00 – 04:00 PM 
Room No.  HT- 1-300
The World Bank, Hindustan Times Building, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi
Presenter :
Jos Verbeek, Lead Author, Global Monitoring Report, World Bank

Discussants:  
Arun Maira, Member, Planning Commission, Government of India 
A S Bahl, Economic Advisor, Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India 
Dr. Amitabh KunduProfessor of Economics & Dean of School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi
Aromar Revi, Director, Indian Institute of Human Settlements                

Moderator : 
Barjor Mehta,  Lead Urban Specialist, World Bank

Please disseminate to your external audiences 

For more information on the Global Monitoring Report, go to www.worldbank.org/gmr

(only for World Bank Staff)
Others please confirm through an email

      Key message of the GMR 2013:

In the past two decades, developing countries have urbanized rapidly, with the number of people living in urban settlements rising from about 1.5 billion in 1990 to 3.6 billion (more than half of the world’s population) in 2011. The report finds that urban poverty rates are significantly lower than rural poverty rates and that urban populations have far better access to the basic public services, such as access to safe water and sanitation facilities, even though within urban areas asymmetries in access are large. If the forces of urbanization are not managed speedily and efficiently, slum growth can overwhelm city growth, exacerbate urban poverty, and derail MDG achievements. As the GMR points out, however, people are located along a continuous rural-urban spectrum, and large cities are not necessarily places where the urban poor are concentrated. Smaller towns matter greatly for urban poverty reduction and service delivery. GMR 2013 calls for an integrated strategy to better manage the planning – connecting – financing formula of urbanization.

 

The Logics and Realms of Small Town Territories. The Story of Tiruchengode

A paper by Bhuvaneswari Raman

in a new issue of Sarai Reader

Sarai Reader 09: Projections

Urban studies view city territories in general and small town ones in particular as projections of either the master plan or the market; territories that do not fit these logics are read through the lens of informality and illegality. Such readings eventually pose urban territories as problems to be fixed through better plans and strict implementation. Small towns are further assumed to be inward-looking enclaves of locally bound economy and politics, their growth shaped by metro city market logic…

A Land full of Disturbances

Economy, Land, and Politics of the Possessed in Coastal South India’s
South Canara

A presentation by Solomon Benjamin, January 24th 2013

at the Vernacular Urbanism and the Provincial City in South Asia

Fourth Urban South Asia Seminar, Stanford University

The four major metropolitan cities in India, Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta and Chennai, have a paradigmatic place in the literature on urban life in the entire region. Large cities like Bangalore and Ahmedabad are scantily studied as urban spaces, and so are Lahore, Karachi and Kathmandu. Other major urban spaces, such as Dhaka or Colombo, or Lucknow and Kanpur are hardly studied in their contemporary form. However, the biggest absence in the scholarly understanding of urban South Asia is the massive landscape of hundreds of provincial cities, many of them exceeding 500.000 people. Most of these cities have emerged in the past few decades from being minor towns, local railway hubs and minor industrial centers.

The seminar will be devoted to explore two larger questions: (1) what spatial, political and cultural imaginings and designs define the public life of provincial cities? Does the metropolitan areas in the region provide hegemonic models or do we see attempts to define aesthetics, symbolsandurbaninstitutionsthatreflectspecificregional histories? (2) As urban centers grow and diversify in terms of communities of caste, language and religion what are the relations between ‘community’ as an ethical and practical structure, and the commercialization of public life, increasingly mediated by access to capital, land and coveted private sector jobs? Is the older proverbial contradiction between capital and community giving way to a new (and yet old) ‘caste capitalism’ where caste and community are the most important forces shaping and enabling mobility and accumulation of wealth in urban spaces across South Asia?

Abstract: In this paper, I suggest that we should move away from an approach where small towns are posed as a ‘periphery’ and understood from the perspective of the metro (the center). This also relates to assumptions of a mythical line of progress now read as globally connected economic development, from the rural to the urban.

Coastal Karnataka’s South Canara challenges this unilateral seductive metro-logic of Bangalore whose visions from Delhi seek to globalize via mega projects, throw in some planning to deal with the ‘unplanned’ growth, and reduce a rich political history to ‘cultural conservation and tourism’: Fish Curry, Rice, and Development.

Institutional changes emanating from Bangalore seek to impose a statecraft that now includes the entry of large financial capital. These techno-financial and managerial visions are confronted and unsettled by a political complexity that differs from the disciplining sought out by the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment. Here, territory formation is haunted by possession – occupancies by various forest deities whose cautionary warnings occupy the minds of large developers promoting multi-storied apartment and commercial complexes and haunt this regions mega projects: an expressway, a thermal power plant, and another of large wind turbines. These deeply embedded rationalities drive an intensive and feverish transformation of values that rejects a narrow read of the plan, where economies globalized since the 7th Century reject the inevitability of the IT dominated policy growth machine, and where a politics of nuances, subtle glances, nudges facilitate and appropriate at lease in part imposed statecraft.

Subaltern Urbanization in India

by Eric Denis, Partha Mukhopadhyay, and Marie-Hélène Zérah:

The concept of subaltern urbanisation refers to the growth of settlement agglomerations, whether denoted urban by the Census of India or not, that are independent of the metropolis and autonomous in their interactions with other settlements, local and global. Analysing conventional and new data sources “against the grain”, this paper claims support for the existence of such economically vital small settlements, contrary to perceptions that India’s urbanisation is slow, that its smaller settlements are stagnant and its cities are not productive. It offers a classification scheme for settlements using the axes of spatial proximity to metropolises and degree of dministrative recognition, and looks at the potential factors for their transformation along economic, social and political dimensions. Instead of basing policy on illusions of control, understanding how agents make this world helps comprehend ongoing Indian transformations.

Economic & Political Weekly, 2012 July 28, vol XLVII, n°52

A Tale of Many Cities: Governance and Planning in Karnataka

By Anil Kumar Vaddiraju:

Urban governance under the 74th Amendment Act has been ignored in Karnataka. A study of Dharwad district shows that the Act is not implemented in letter and spirit and governance and planning is done through a small section in the deputy commissioner’s/collector’s office and has no links with the chief planning office in the zilla panchayat.

Economic & Political Weekly, Vol – XLVIII No. 02, January 12, 2013