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Urbanization in Uttar Pradesh: Trends and Problems
K. K. Gavsker*
Introduction:
The pace of urbanization in India has been rapidly increasing with about 30
percent of the total population already living in urban areas. Urbanization in
India is a part of the global trend towards growing urbanization (Singh, 2006:1).
India has the second largest urban population in the world, next only to China.
At the global level the percent of urban population in developed world was 75,
whereas it was 40.0 percent in developing world (2006). In the context of India,
there has been decline in the urban growth rates since 1971-81. Despite the
deceleration, the growth in the urban population in absolute terms and at the rate
it is increasing makes India one of the fastest urbanizing countries in the world
(Singh, 2000:9). By way of the increase in urban population and sprawl of
towns and cities, urban centres are at risk of numerous problems. These
problems are associated with physical, infrastructural, environmental, social
and economic conditions.
Mostly, urban centres are believed as the place of livelihood and opportunities
which attracts the population to migrate towards. Thus, urban areas have been
extending horizontally by encroachment of the surrounding land areas and
becoming denser with vertical construction. These problems are more or less
similar in several cities of India. Grant and Nijman (2003) state, cities differ in
terms of the degree and mechanisms in which they are linked to the external
economy. This differentiation is as much a function of the idiosyncratic features of
the city as a place and location, as it is of development in the global economy
(Richard and Nijman, 2003). Indian urbanization is characterized by the growth
of large city. The cities Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and
Hyderabad have been providing spaces to global investments and expansion of
private sector in several fields, but are under risk of numerous problems
regarding housing, infrastructure, sanitation and sewerage, environmental etc.
Around 50 percent of population of Mumbai has been living in slum conditions
which are world popular. Further studies argue that such areas are totally unfit
for human habitation.

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* Research fellow, Centre for Regional Studies, University of Hyderabad, Hyd.
Future projections about urbanization present a picture of pace and degree of
urbanization in India. These follows as; 1) The urban population of India is
expected to grow from 27.7 percent at present to 35 percent of the total population
by the year 2016, in absolute terms the present urban population of 285.3 million
will grow to 501 million, 2) According to a World Bank study by the year 2030,
India’s urban population is likely to increase to 716.0 million. i.e. about 330
percent of the present urban population, 3) The number of cities and towns would
increase to 6000 in 2021, 4) The number of million plus cities is projected to
increase to 70 in 2021 and 5) The UN has projected that by 2025, more than 50
percent of India’s population will live in the cities and towns (Sodhi, 2004:26).
This paper would focus upon some questions which are linked with
urbanization and emerging problems in the state Uttar Pradesh. The questions
the paper asks are: 1) What is the contribution of Uttar Pradesh in
urbanization? 2) What are the emerging problems in urban centres of Uttar
Pradesh? 3) What is the role of urban development policies and programmes
towards development? The study is based upon the secondary studies.
Journals, news papers, magazines and Census of India, are consulted for
secondary material.
Historical Background of Urbanization in U. P.
According to available literature, we find that process of urbanization in Uttar
Pradesh started during the ancient time. Origin of urban centres in the state
was during 500 BC. It was after the decline of the first phase of urbanization of
the Harrappan civilization, either due to natural disaster or deliberate
destruction by an invading army (Ramachandran, 1989). Historical evidence
supports that the architects of the second phase of urbanization, which started
to flourish in Indo-Gangetic basin, were the Arayans. Varanasi is the oldest
existing city of India in Uttar Pradesh, originated around 500 BC. Other cities
originated during Post-Vedic period were Hastinapur, Ayodhya, Kausambi,
Kapilvastu, Sravasthi etc. There has been a decline and emergence of urban
centres during different time periods in the region. The decline of urban centres
that began in the Gupta period (5
th
century AD) continued during the succeeding
centuries” (Ramachandran, 1989:48).

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Urbanization in Uttar Pradesh: Trends and Problems K. K. Gavsker* Introduction: The pace of urbanization in India has been rapidly increasing with about 30 percent of the total population already living in urban areas. Urbanization in India is a part of the global trend towards growing urbanization (Singh, 2006:1). India has the second largest urban population in the world, next only to China. At the global level the percent of urban population in developed world was 75, whereas it was 40.0 percent in developing world (2006). In the context of India, there has been decline in the urban growth rates since 1971-81. Despite the deceleration, the growth in the urban population in absolute terms and at the rate it is increasing makes India one of the fastest urbanizing countries in the world (Singh, 2000:9). By way of the increase in urban population and sprawl of towns and cities, urban centres are at risk of numerous problems. These problems are associated with physical, infrastructural, environmental, social and economic conditions. Mostly, urban centres are believed as the place of livelihood and opportunities which attracts the population to migrate towards. Thus, urban areas have been extending horizontally by encroachment of the surrounding land areas and becoming denser with vertical construction. These problems are more or less similar in several cities of India. Grant and Nijman (2003) state, cities differ in terms of the degree and mechanisms in which they are l ...
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