Tag Archives: small towns

Dynamism and Fragility of the Non-metropolitan Development in India. The Kartarpur Example: A Small Cluster-city of Craft Woodworkers

de Bercegol, R., & Gowda, S.

Espaces et sociétés, 2017 (1), 147-170.

Abstract

Urbanisation in India is usually perceived as the problem of huge metropolises. The focus of this paper is on small conurbations in which specific urban dynamics emerge and contribute also to the current urban transformations. One of them, Kartarpur, is a small cluster-city of craft woodworkers. It shows both the dynamism and the fragility of this non-metropolitan urbanisation. The remarkable expansion of a small furniture industry is linked with endogenous factors rooted in a specific territory, far away from metropolitan development schemes. The analysis shows how a territorial cluster of local craftsmen, putting together their traditional know-how, allowed the creation of a real added-value which is upset by current neo-liberal evolutions.

Circular Migration and Localized Urbanization in Rural India

Soundarya Iyer

Environment and Urbanization Asia – 8(1) 105–119, 2017

Internal migration is a major driving force for urbanization all over the world and is of concern in Asia due to its rising magnitude. Most studies on internal migration focus on the migrant in the process of migration and a large majority of studies are interested in understanding the conditions of the migrant at the destination for policy concerns. This article makes a case for studying the source of migration and the role that circular migration plays in processes of urbanization at the source of migration. This is particularly important in the context of the growing urbanization away from cities in India. Using the case of a dry land village in northeastern Karnataka, this article attempts to understand the role that circular migration for construction work to cities has in the process of localized urbanization in the village.

SPATIAL INCLUSION OF RURAL AREAS: ROLE OF RURBAN MISSION

N. Sridharan

School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi

Draft paper to download

SHAMA PRASAD MUKHERJEE NATIONAL RURBAN MISSION is not a old wine in a new bottle, if one looks at it deeply. For the first time in India, a spatial planning strategy has been introduced in Rural Development Model with land use and convergence of various programmes and activities. If implemented with earnest interest, this Mission will be a game changer for the country. Lesser time for planning and lesser emphasis on people’s participation may challenge mission’s success than achieving desired integration and convergence. Capacity needs to be built at various levels so as to make this landmark programme a successful one.

Urbanisation, rural transformations and food systems: the role of small towns

Cecilia Tacoli and Jytte Agergaard

Book/Report, 29 pages, IIED, 2017

Small towns are an essential but often-neglected element of rural landscapes and food systems. They perform a number of essential functions, from market nodes to providers of services and goods and non-farm employment to their own population as well as that of the wider surrounding region. In demographic terms, they represent about half of the world’s urban population, and are projected to absorb much of its growth in the next decades. But the multiple and complex interconnections between rural and urban spaces, people and enterprises – and how these affect poverty and food insecurity – remain overlooked. Drawing on lessons from a set of case studies from Tanzania and other examples, this paper aims to contribute to this debate by uniting a food systems approach with an explicit focus on small towns and large villages that play a key role in food systems.

 

Small towns beat metros in jobs, self-employment

Construction is booming and related jobs are more to be found in smaller towns. These are some of the facets of urban India revealed in a recent NSSO report on employment in cities.

Smaller towns are surging ahead as hubs of jobs and entrepreneurial activity, beating larger cities and even metropolises. While industrial activity declines in big cities, smaller cities and towns are picking up the slack, often displaying a preference for manufacturing at the cost of the services sector.

Subodh Varma, May 24, 2015

Times of India: text here 

Middle India and Urban-Rural Development: Four Decades of Change

edited by Barbara Harriss-White, 2015

Springer, Exploring Urban Change in South India series

The only long-term urban study in India, and possibly worldwide

Middle India and Rural-Urban Development explores the socio-economic conditions of an ‘India’ that falls between the cracks of macro-economic analysis, sectoral research and micro-level ethnography. Its focus, the ‘middle India’ of small towns, is relatively unknown in scholarly terms for good reason: it requires sustained and difficult field research. But it is where most Indians either live or constantly visit in order to buy and sell, arrange marriages and plot politics. Anyone who wants to understand India therefore needs to understand non-metropolitan, provincial, small-town India and its economic life. This book meets this need. From 1973 to the present, Barbara Harriss-White has watched India’s development through the lens of an ordinary  town in northern Tamil Nadu, Arni. This book provides a pluralist, multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary perspective on Arni and its rural hinterland. It grounds general economic processes  in the social specificities of a given place and region. In the process, continuity is juxtaposed with abrupt change. A strong feature of the book is its analysis of how government policies that fail to take into account the realities of small town life in India have unintended and often perverse consequences.

In this unique book, Harriss-White brings together ten essays written by herself and her research team on Arni and its surrounding rural areas. They track the changing nature of local business and the workforce; their urban-rural relations, their regulation through civil society organizations and social practices, their relations to the state and to India’s accelerating and dynamic growth. That most people live outside the metropolises holds for many other developing countries and makes this book, and the ideas and methods that frame it, highly relevant to a global development audience.

Selected Readings on Small Town Dynamics in India

Bhuvaneswari Raman, Mythri Prasad-Aleyamma, Rémi De Bercegol, Eric Denis, Marie-Hélène Zerah.

USR 3330 “Savoirs et Mondes Indiens” Working papers series no. 7; SUBURBIN Working papers series no. 2. 114 pages. 2015

This literature review aims at summarizing the state of knowledge related to small urbanised settlements. The significance of researching these localities can be inferred from the fact that a growing share of urban population lives in such agglomerations with a population above 10,000 and below 50,000 to 100,000 inhabitants. This fact is not limited to India and a large share of the urban population worldwide lives in small and medium cities, which are understudied. The same dearth of research applies to the Indian context, as will be evident in this review, despite the importance of the resilience of an urban system comprising a large number of small towns and the diversity of these settlements in terms of their economic base and their social structure. This literature review is structured around five themes: A) the first section lays out issues related to estimating the magnitude and sources of demographic growth in order to infer the contribution of small towns to urban dynamics; B) the second section on Small Towns: Sources of Growth explores the economic processes supporting the expansion of small towns, and debates the dominant vision of the relationship between urbanization and growth, as explained by the New Economic Geography; C) the third section focuses on the transformation of small town economies and social structures while examining practices of entrepreneurship, circulation of labour, social mobility as well as caste and gender inequalities; D) the fourth section on Land and territorial transformations focuses on the relation between property and entrepreneurship; and E) the last section on Governance makes sense of the literature on decentralization, government schemes, governance and the political economy of small towns. This review constitutes one of the steps undertaken within the Subaltern Urbanization in India project (www.suburbin.hypotheses.org) to bring back to the fore the research on small towns.

Large Villages, Small Towns

V M Rao

Economic and Political Weekly, Vol – XLIX No. 16, April 19, 2014

Two distinctly different processes of change are likely to operate in rural areas as a consequence of urbanisation (Surinder S Jodhka, “Changing Face of Rural India”, EPW, 5 April 2014). As the urban boundaries shift out with larger villages becoming eventually small towns, the people in these villages would acquire urban lifestyles and aspirations though they continue to remain rural in the records. As the review notes, some 20,000 large villages account for more than a half of rural population.

Patriotism plus passion: stories of 20 entrepreneurs from small towns in India

Madanmohan Rao | April 27, 2014, YOURSTORY

Guess what? The world’s largest company in value-added spices, one of the world’s Top 10 publishing BPOs, India’s biggest exporter of hand-knotted carpets, largest machine tool manufacturer, largest honey exporter, and largest leather exporter all started up in small towns in India, not the big metros.

Over the decades, big ideas and successful entrepreneurs have made a mark in small-town India, as shown by the 20 profiles in the new book by Rashmi Bansal, Take Me Home.

 

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

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.

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