Urbanization & Urban Development

City or Town is a place of urban living. Urban means an environment in which natural surroundings  have been dominated by manmade or artificial  surroundings, which man made for himself, or his working, living and recreation. As per the census of  India, a place becomes urban if it has more than 5000 population, more than 75% of which are engaged in non –agricultural occupation and the density is more than1000 persons per sq.km.

Urbanization is the physical growth of rural or natural land into urban areas as a result of population immigration to an existing urban area. Urbanization refers to the population shift from rural to urban residency, the gradual increase in the proportion of people living in urban areas, and the ways in which each society adapts to this change.

The Causes of Urban Growth

Push Factors

· Lack of educational facilities

· Lack of job opportunities

· Lack of health facilities

· Lack of electricity and sewerage system

· Land lord system

· Inequality

· Low living standards

· Old traditions

Pull Factors

·  Better and higher educational facilities

·  Better and more of job opportunities

·  Better health facilities

·  Availability of electricity and sewerage system

·  Better living standards

Global Trends in Urbanization

In 1960, the global urban population was 34% of the total; however, by 2014 the urban population accounted for 54% of the total and continues to grow. By 2050 the proportion living in urban areas is expected to reach 66%. Fig. 1.5 shows the change in the rural and urban populations of the world from 1950 through to projected figures up to the year 2050.

Urbanism started in the caves themselves, where people gathered for protection against the elements or for the defence against rival tribes. These places of communal living gave way  to  the village. The village was a by-product of development of agriculture in areas of adequate water supply and fertile soil. The village was also a sanctuary for the altar of their deity, a meeting place for assembly and a centre for trade. This environment became increasingly populated  and resulted in urbanisation. With the development of diversified economy not totally dependent of food production attracted people into labour pool, providing employment  in a variety of forms. This in turn brought about the enlargement of village or hamlets into towns  and cities.

                        Urban and rural population of the world, 1950–2050

Population residing in urban areas in India, according to 1901 census, was 11.4%. This count increased to 28.53% according to 2001 census, and crossing 30% as per 2011 census, standing at 31.16%. In 2017, the numbers increased to 34%, according to The World Bank. The data shows that Goa is the most urbanised state with 62.17% of the population living in urban areas. But if one goes by geographical area and total population, Tamil Nadu is the most urbanised state. In Kerala, 47.72% of people live in urban areas and in Maharashtra 45.23%.

Factors that influence in the development and growth of urban areas

·  Population density

·  Density of physical development

·  Possession of formal plan

·  Proportion of inhabitants engaging in  non agricultural occupation

·  Functional characters

·  Services

·  Political or legal, administrative

·  Life style 

Causes of urbanization

·  Economic development 

·  Industrialization

·  Job opportunities

·  Availability of easy transportation

·  Agglomeration economics

·  Political, cultural and social influences

Problems of Urbanization

· Pressure on resources and social services Eg. Water, transport, health and education

· More unemployment

· Increased crime rate, especially since the typical migrant may be young, unskilled or inexperienced

· Development of slums (ghettos) due to inadequate housing. This will add to the problem of pollution

· Traffic congestion

· Competition on limited resources

· Noise pollution

· Epidemics

· High levels of stress

· Poverty

· Air quality worsens

Solution to problems of urbanization

·  Limit the size of cities by setting boundaries and controlling population size

·  Put a stop to using agricultural lands for non-agricultural purposes such as housing

·  Develop the rural areas by providing recreation, education, health care and other social services

·  Develop basic infrastructure in the rural areas eg. roads, water and electricity

·  Encourage rural population to participate in community activities and use community facilities

·  Create jobs in rural areas by building more factories to employ more people

JNNURM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission) is the first massive urban development programme in India and has established the foundation for large-scale central assistance to the urban sector. It was launched as a reform-driven and fast-track programme to catalyze planned development of identified cities. The programme has been operating in mission mode by facilitating large scale investments in the urban sector and policy and institutional reforms, leading to sustainable socio-economic growth in cities. The mission has sought to achieve this by integrating the development of infrastructure services and accelerating the flow of investment into urban infrastructure; through planned development, redevelopment and renewal of cities, inner-city areas, peri-urban areas, outgrowths, urban corridors and through universal service delivery for the urban poor. A number of urban projects were sanctioned under JNNURM during 2005–2014, and central assistance of approximately 48,000 crore INR was committed during this period through the mission. During 2014–15, the central government launched four new schemes to expedite urban infrastructure and service provision and replace JNNURM. These schemes are the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), focusing on water supply and sewerage improvement; Smart Cities Mission (SCM), aimed at developing smart solutions for selected urban areas; Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), focused on waste management and sanitation; and Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY), for addressing the development of heritage cities.


Modern Town Planning in India

In India, the various states have passed town planning act to enforce town planning activity. The main source of all these town planning acts are the English Town Planning Act of 1909, the main provision in this act is that local authorities are given power to prepare and to enforce town planning schemes on open lands in the city and on its fringe.

For the purpose of looking after the planning and execution of new parts within metro-centres, various organizations such as DDA (Delhi Development Authority), CIDCO (City and Industrial Development Corporation), CMPO (Calcutta Metropolitan Planning Organization), HUDCO (Housing and Urban Development Corporation), etc., are set up by the government.In addition to local authorities, the State Government is empowered to declare urban development areas and to set up urban development authorities for such areas. Such authorities are given the following powers.

  • To prepare development plans for the urban areas.
  • To prepare town planning schemes.
  • To carry out surveys in the urban development area.
  • To guide, direct and assist the local authority in urban development.
  • To control development activities according to the plan.
  • To execute work in connection with supply of water, disposal of sewage.
  • To enter into contracts and agreements with local authority and organizations.

Socio – Economic Aspects of Town Planning

The town planning is desirable if its adoption leads to better utilization of the resources of the community. Hence, for any given size, the best planned town is one where the aggregate land values are at a maximum. Thus, economically, the best town plan will lead to the highest aggregate land values. While adopting the land values condition, the following factors are to be considered for assessing the economic worth of town planning.

  • Change in quantity of resource
  • Demand for goods and services
  • Production techniques
  • Redistribution of land values

The economic advantages offered by urban way of life are enormous. But at the same time, urban growth is not smooth and there are many difficulties that prevent the town from making maximum contribution to national economy. Some of the economic disadvantage can be mentioned as difficulties in securing housing accommodation, congestion of facilities, etc. In a similar way, the drawbacks from various disciplines can be enumerated as follows.

  • The local government is concerned with the expansion of urban area, and its administration, etc.
  • The medical officer is concerned with the effects of dirt, smoke, etc. on the health of urban dwellers.
  • The psychologist is concerned with the effects of noise and strain leading to greater insanity and psychological pressure.
  • The sociologist is concerned with the formation of slums, inadequate recreational facilities, increase in theft and crime, etc.


Stages of Town Development

1) Classification by Sir Patrick Geddes




Town, which produces human necessities such as agricultural village


Town, which functions as entry of exchange such as marketing town


Town, which provides residential, educational and recreational facilities

 2) Classification by Lewis Mumford




The Eopolis indicates the first stage of town as a village community whose economic base is agriculture.


The Polis indicates and association of population with some mechanization and specialization.


The metropolis is a city or town which serves as a capital of a state or region.


The megalopolis indicates the first stage of decline in town or city due to mega problems and issues, or the reign of town or city shows the signs of decline and deterioration.


Tyranopolis is the town or city which shows drastic deteriorating situation for example the trade depression or military powers may occur with different war lords.


Necropolis is the worst stage of town or city. For example the citizens are shifting to rural areas or village due to war, disease or economic break down. In that case the town may recover from it after a large internal of time.

3) Classification by Griffith Taylor




This is the first stage of town in which a city is not yet divided in separate zones or the city in which zoning regulations is not being prepared yet.


The juvenile stage of town or city indicates that, shops are being separated from the houses or residential area and there are some factories or an industry has been established at a minimal level.


The mature stage of town shows the divisions of residential zone, commercial zone and industrial zone in the city or the land use and zoning regulations in town shows the stage of mature city / town.


Finally the senile stage of town indicates the physical decay in most of the portions of the city or the physical, social & economic degradation is evident in the built environment of town or city.

 4) Classification by Harold MacLean Lewis



Eopolis or Infantile Municipality Town

2500 to 5000

Polis or Juvenile Town

5000 to 10000

Mature Trade/Industrial Town

10000 to 25000

Metropolis or Medium Size City

25000 to 50000

Megalopolis Intermediate City

50000 to 100000

Trade/Industry/Service Sector City

100000 to 250000

Primate City

250000 to 500000

Tyranopolis or a Metropolitan City

500000 to 1000000

Senile City or Mega City

1000000 or more

5) Urban & Rural Classification of Towns & Cities (By Census of India)


Class of Range of Population

Class I

100,000 and above

Class II

50,000 to 99,999

Class II

20,000 to 49,999

Class IV

10,000 to 19,999

Class V

5,000 to 9,999

Class VI

Below 5,000


Selection of Site for an Ideal Town

The important features to be considered with respect to the site of a town are as follows.
1.    Availability of the natural advantages
2.    Availability of electricity
3.    Available means of communication
4.    Climatic conditions
5.    Contours of the area
6.    Development of the surrounding area
7.    Drainage of the area
8.    Facility available for sewage disposal
9.    Fertility of soils
10.     Frequency of the floods
11.     Growth of the trees
12.     Nature of soil
13.     Position of lakes and streams
14.     Water resources, etc.
Requirements of New Towns
The two important facts which are to be carefully examined before deciding the requirements of new towns are as follows.
1) Function of the town
A new town is generally formed or developed for specific purpose. The purposes for which the towns may be designed are commerce, industry, culture, education, defense, health, recreation, government administration, etc. these purposes will help boost the economy, social welfare and political condition. Once the function of a new town known, size of population to be accommodated in the town can be worked out.
2) Welfare of the people
A new town should be designed for the welfare of the people. The welfare of the people is measured by three factors, namely, amenities, convenience and health.
General requirements
  •          Amenities such as sewer lines, water supply, electric power, etc.
  •          Education.
  •          Effective road networks.
  •          Planned growth of the town.
  •          Provision for future expansion.
  •          Proper location of public building.
  •          Parks and playgrounds.
  •          Provision of suitable bye-laws for the town.
  •          Recreation centres.
  •          Zoning of town into suitable zone.

Types Town Planning

To maintain the continuity in the planning process, the following five forms of planning are to be considered.
1.    Local planning
2.    Country planning
3.    Regional planning
4.    National planning
5.    International planning
1) Local Planning
  • The development plan of a city or town is prepared by keeping in view the local conditions.
  • It aims at proper distribution of population densities, regulation of traffic, location of shopping and recreational centres, provision of green belt, suitable division of area in various zones, etc.
  • Local planning is influenced by economic conditions and finances available for the development of the town.

2) Country Planning
  • The area surrounding a town cannot be allowed to develop in a haphazard way.
  • Generally, a town is surrounded by villages and rural planning becomes necessary for proper functioning of the town.
  • The surrounding village is linked up with suitable transport system in country planning.
  • Village industries such as dairy, poultry farming, basket and rope making, weaving, etc. are encouraged.
  • A proper balance between the agricultural and industry should be maintained without disturbing the character of rural area.
  • Country planning and town planning are related to each other and cannot be treated as two separate entities.

3) Regional Planning
  • It includes proposals in a region for the distribution of population, industry, transport facility, rural services, etc.
  • The regional planning helps in controlling and reshaping the growth of major towns in the region.
  • In general, a region may be defined as an area within which interaction is more intense than its interaction with other areas and the modern practice is to include the following in regional planning.

1.      Agricultural regions.
2.      Industrial areas.
3.      Large hydro-electric power stations.
4.      Resort and recreational areas.
5.      Suburban zones of cities.
The regional planning is necessary for the following reasons.
  • To ensure profitable utilization of the resources at minimum expense for maximum benefit.
  • It gives the information regarding the economic functions.
  • It gives the local planners knowledge of relationship between the areas of the region, which will help them in planning.
  • It allows planned and harmonious development of the national economy.
  • It reveals new town planning and building principles.
  • It serves as a link of co-operation and co-ordination between the areas of the region.

4) National Planning
  • It suggests the setting up of the planning procedure on a national level.
  • By proper and careful national planning, the resources of national importance like railways, irrigation projects, heavy industries, hydro-electric works, etc. can be utilized in the best possible manner.
  • Developments is from top level to bottom level, that is international level to local level or vice-versa.
  • Developments in terms of various economic sectors such as agricultural, fishing, forestry, mining, quarrying, etc.
  • Developments in terms of various social sectors such as clothing, housing, food, education, health, employment, recreation, etc.

 5) International Planning
  • With the establishment of United Nations Organization (UNO), the international planning has come into existence and efforts are made at international level to promote goodwill and co-operation between different countries of the world.
  • The various agencies appointed by UNO conduct surveys in various fields of human life such as education, health, housing, food, etc. such surveys helps in finding out remedies and solutions of complicated problems at an international level.