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Urbanization is an indicator of modernization, the sign of growth and economic progress. It is a

natural consequence of economic changes that take place, as the nation develops. It is
indispensable to economic growth and leads to social equity. It is the result of more avenues of
industrialization but it is not matched by a commensurate degree of energy and transportation
We live in an urban age. The worlds urban population grew from 220 million to almost 3
billion over the 20th century. By 2050 about 70 percent of the worlds population will be urban.
With the urban populations of Asia and Africa set to double between 2000 and 2030, future
urbanisation will largely be a developing world phenomenon2. India, expected to be an urban
majority country by 2040-45, will be at the forefront of this massive socio-economic shift. We
believe the manner in which the subcontinent responds to urbanisation over the next two decades
will define the social, economic and environmental future of not just the country, but also of the
world. While the more conventional challenges of urbanising societies of providing adequate
housing, public transportation and other civic amenities are recognised.
In India, like elsewhere, urbanisation is the sociological and spatial counterpart to
economic processes that shift workers away from subsistence agriculture to more productive
sectors. It is the physical manifestation of all the construction activity that accompanies rapid
growth. Figure below illustrates both the drivers and impediments to urbanisation.

A shift from subsistence agriculture is primarily driven by an increase in educational and

aspiration levels, growth of agricultural productivity, focused and deliberate government policy
and growth of non-farm activity. On the other hand the factors that prevent the shift from
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subsistence agriculture to other economic activities and thus impede the process of urbanisation
include: poor civic infrastructure, lack of focussed and deliberate government policy, a planning
bias towards metropolitan centres of growth, the decay of small towns and the slow rate of
India has a history of urbanisation since ancient times. The most well known examples are of the
city-settlements of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro which date back to the Indus Valley civilisation
of 3000-1700 BC. Archaeological evidence reveals the high level of urban planning that existed
in the cities of the Indus Valley. The settlements had clearly demarcated public and private areas,
streets laid out in grids, as well as an extensive and sophisticated system of drainage and waste
removal. These are arguably the earliest planned urban settlements in the world. Cities and
urban areas have since set the foundation of modern civilisation they have proved to be the
engines of economic growth, and the centres of innovation, culture, knowledge and political
power. This report defines sustainable urbanisation as a process by which urban settlements
contribute to environmental sustainability in the long term. Such urbanisation would require
conservation of non-renewable resources, mass-scale deployment of renewable resources, and a
reduction in the energy-use and waste-production per unit of output/consumption. Moreover, the
pattern of urban growth should facilitate a fair distribution of resources, both within the present
generation and between present and future generations. Finally, we need to be aware at all times
that environmentally sustainable cities must also be vibrant economic and social agglomerations
environmental sustainability is meaningless in an economic/social wasteland.


Urbanization is an unavoidable phenomenon. Day after day, the process of urbanization is
mounting greater scales and urban populations increasing at unprecedented growth rates.
Between 1995 and 2000, the world witnessed a growth of 2.5% (0.7% in developed countries
and 3.3% in developing countries). It is expected that by 2030 nearly 5 billion (61% of the world
population) will be living in cities (UNPFA, 2000). Urbanization is arguably the most dramatic
form of highly irreversible land transformation and the world is experiencing intense
urbanization by the hand of extensive yet uneven processes of growth and expansion. Cities are
growing faster than their populations, a direct implication of growth characterized by urban
sprawl. Concerns about urban sprawl have resulted in alterations in land use decisions and urban

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policies with little effect. But the definition of sprawl, its causes and consequences remain
Indian cities especially have been experiencing an unprecedented growth in the past 30 years.
This growth has had dramatic negative effects on urban dweller and their environment. Cities are
facing serious shortage of power, water, sewerage, developed land, housing, transportation, and
communication mixed with dramatic pollution, poor public health or educational standards,
unemployment and poverty. Thus, understanding and monitoring past and current urbanization
processes is the basis for future predictions and preparedness, and thus for sustainable urban
planning. Urban productivity depends on spatial concentration which allows rapid exchanges of
labor, information, goods and services within and urban area. The possibility for labor and
consumers to move quickly from one part of the metropolitan area to another is a key factor in
the economic growth of cities. Urban productivity, therefore is very much dependant on the
consistency between land use patterns and transport systems. There are certain urban forms that
appear to be more sustainable in some respects, for example in reducing travel, or enabling fuel
efficient technologies. (Mike Jenks et al)
Moreover, Urbanization trends in India are a direct reflection of the structural changes in the
economy. And large cities and their urban agglomerations have been the magnets that attract
investment, which leads to development of industrial and service sector, employment generation,
and migration and population growth. This process has significant implications in terms of land
use changes especially in the context of privatization and globalization and hence their spatial
structures. Review of earlier work shows that separate studies are there pertaining to migration
and land use, but very few studies in association between the economic activities, migration, and
land use and infrastructure, to bring out the dynamics of urban expansion. Infrastructure is the
key to urban development. Without access to roads, water, wastewater treatment, police and fire,
and other public services, land has little potential for residential, commercial, or industrial use
(James Frank, 1980). The growth manifested Indian cities have continuously increased the
demand on these services, resulting in cities with weak infrastructure systems, with inefficient
delivery systems.
There are two aspects to the quality of life or urban livability of a large city:

The efficiency of its spatial structure

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The consistency between its infrastructure, its regulations and its spatial structure (Alain

Bertaud, 2003)

The 21st century is the century of the cities and of urbanization (cf. Hall/Pfeiffer 2001).
Urbanization as the process of transition from a rural to a more urban society (UNFPA 2007, p.
6) is increasing rapidly and will continue during the next decades, especially in many developing
countries. According to the State of World Population Report 2007, a current report from the
United Nations Population Fund, in 2008 for the first time in human history more than half of the
worlds population will be living in urban areas (cf. UNFPA 2007, p. 1). Today 3.3 billion people
already live in cities and by 2030 that number will have risen to almost 5 billion. The total
population is increasing by 280.000 people per day, whereas 95 % of the annual population
increase between 1994 and 2004 occurred in less developed regions. Compared to industrialized
countries the urbanization in developing countries is increasing rapidly and will continue to
increase in the next decades.

Mega cities of the world -1955

Mega cities of the world -1965

Mega cities of the world -1975

Mega cities of the world -1985

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Mega cities of the world -1995

Mega cities of the world -2005

The highest growth will mainly occur in
the cities of Asia and Africa, in areas that
are now more than two-thirds rural and
by 2025 will be half urban. The
developing nations are going to witness

Mega cities of the world -2015

an unprecedented growth in the next two

Figure 1: Growth of urban areas of the world

(World urbanisation report; Fragkias, 2006

According to the estimation of the UN concerning the number of megacities in 2015, Tokyo
(36.2 mill. inhabitants), Bombay (22.6), Delhi (20.9), Mexico City (20.4) and So Paulo (20.0)
will be the worldwide five biggest megacities each with much more than 20 million inhabitants.
The rapid process of urbanization and the growing number of the megacities cause a lot of
different environmental, economic and social problems and risks. These impacts cause
challenges for urban policies and urban planning strategies while managing the development in a
sustainable way, especially when the population in some cities doubles every 10 to 15 years.
Often, the authorities are unable to steer the development, most of all in the megacities (M.
Keiner et al, 2003). Most mega-urban regions experience, at least temporarily, a strong
polarisation of living conditions with very unevenly distributed incomes, overcrowded and
unhealthy living areas and with uncontrolled population growth (J. Bahr et al, 2000). The
economic growth in these cities and the built-up and upgrading of infrastructure does not keep
pace with the growth in population.

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Concentric Zone Theory:

This emerged from a study of Chicago by Burgess and was essentially an application to urban
land use of Von Thunens earlier theory relating to rural land around a city. It was suggested that
any city extends radially from its centre to form concentric zones and that as distance from the
centre increased there would be a reduction in accessibility, rents and densities. Land use would
assume the following form outwards:
The central business district- an ideal construction of the tendencies of any town or city to
expand radially from itEncircling the downtown area there is normally an area of transition
which is being invaded by business and light manufacture, a third area is inhabited by the
workers in industries who have escaped from the area of deterioration but who desire to live
within easy access of their work. Beyond this zone is the residential area of high class
apartment building or of exclusiverestricted district of single family dwellings. Still further, out
beyond the city limits, is the commuters zone-suburban areas or satellite cities.
There would also be declining proportion of recent immigrants, delinquency rate and poverty and
disease, as distance increased from the centre.
Some important points:

Representation of an extremely simple explanation of urban land use patterns and socio
spatial structure

It links with some conception of process and land use change, both in terms of the
internal structure of cities and the conversion of rural land to urban land use

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Reflects an annular expansion of urban areas via a progressive movement outwards at

commerce, industry and people by differing activities and groups of people

Basic logic maintained in this model was growth as a result of colonization of successive
outer rings would remain.

Criticism of Burgess Theory:

Assumes only one functional centre within urban areas. This has greatest validity for
small towns and is less valid as the urban areas grow longer.

Cities dont grow equally in all directions

Urban expansion does not proceed smoothly by the conversion of agricultural to

residential land

It was rejected on technical grounds that defining parcels of land that are homogeneous
with respect to use becomes difficult

This model lacks universality concentric zone land use are not found in all cities
throughout history

Burgess had little to say concerning why urban growth and form should follow the
particular patterns he postulated

No universal pattern of housing could be found in cities

It neglects natural and manmade topography.

Sectoral Model:

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It was developed by Homer Hoyt in 1939. He conceived the city as an arial development pattern.
This theory propounds that growth along a particular transport routeway takes the form of urban
land use already prevailing and that each sector of relatively homogeneous use extends outwards
from the centre. It forms roughly star shaped community.
Compatible land uses would lay adjacent to each other (for eg: warehousing and light
manufacturing and low income housing) and incompatible land uses will be repelled (for eg:
high income housing, and ware housing and light industry). Residential uses will tend to be
segregated in terms of income and social position and will expand in different directions in
different parts of the city.
Thus similar type of land use originating near the city centre (CBD) move out towards the
periphery but largely in the same direction and in the same grouping.
Criticism on Sector Model:

Hoyts visualized that the high status area were not only the key determinants of urban
structure (residential) at any point of time but a central agent of change over time. This
has been questioned.
Economic determinism as the agent responsible for spatial organisation of cities has been
It lacks universality
The structure as only one focal centre has also been questioned.

Multiple Nuclei Model:

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A model made up of a number of separate nuclei was proposed by C.D.Haris and E.L.Ullman
(1945). It was conceived as a further move away from the massive generalization and towards
reality. It is an observed fact that many towns and nearly all large cities do not grow simply about
a single central business district but are formed by the progressive integration of a number of
separate nuclei into the urban fabric hence the suggestion of a multiple nuclei model. The
presence of nuclei reflects the internal differentiation of the city in the course of growth. These
nuclei reflect the effect of interaction of several variables.
These nuclei and further districts which become specialized and differentiated in the growth
process, are not located in relation to any generalized zone or distance attribute, but rather they
are bound by a number of controls which produce a pattern of characteristic association between
the nuclei. They are

Certain activities require specialized facilities. Thus the retail district demands maximum
accessibility, something quite different from geometrical centrality.

Like activities group together since they profit from association, hence the specialized
legal districts on theatrelands.In short, there are external economies.

Some activities repel each other, as in separation of high quality residences from industry,

Some activities cannot afford the high rents which the most desirable sites, relative to
their interests, demand.

Central Place Theory:

Central Place Theory (CPT) is an attempt to explain the spatial arrangement, size, and number of
settlements. The theory was originally published in 1933 by a German geographer Walter
Christaller who studied the settlement patterns in southern Germany. In the flat landscape of
southern Germany Christaller noticed that towns of a certain size were roughly equidistant. By
examining and defining the functions of the settlement structure and the size of the hinterland he
found it possible to model the pattern of settlement locations using geometric shapes.
Christaller made a number of assumptions such as:
All areas have

an isotropic (all flat) surface

an evenly distributed population

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evenly distributed resources

similar purchasing power of all consumers and consumers will patronize nearest

transportation costs equal in all directions and proportional to distance

no excess profits (Perfect competition)

Explanation of some terms: Central Place, low order, high order, sphere of influence

A Central Place is a settlement which provides one or more services for the population
living around it.

Simple basic services (e.g. grocery stores) are said to be of low order while specialized
services (e.g. universities) are said to be of high order.

Having a high order service implies there are low order services around it, but not vice

Settlements which provide low order services are said to be low order settlements.

Settlements that provide high order services are said to be high order settlements.

The sphere of influence is the area under influence of the Central Place.

Details of the Theory:

The theory consists of two basic concepts:
-- the minimum population that is required to bring about the provision of certain good or
Range of goods or services
-- the average maximum distance people will travel to purchase goods and services

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From these two concepts the lower and upper limits of goods or services can be found. With the
upper and the lower limits, it is possible to see how the central places are arranged in an
imaginary area.
Arrangement of the Central places/ settlements:
As transport is equally easy in all direction, each central place will have a circular market area as
shown in C in the following diagram

However, circular shape of the market areas results in either un-served areas or over-served
areas. To solve this problem, Christaller suggested the hexagonal shape of the markets as shown
in D in the above diagram. Within a given area there will be fewer high order cities and towns in
relation to the lower order villages and hamlets. For any given order, theoretically the settlements
will be equidistance from each other. The higher order settlements will be further apart than the
lower order ones.

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