Ojaank IAS Academy




The Urban-Rural Dichotomy

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In order to comprehend and address poverty, undernourishment, education, health, environmental management, or even development, the old dichotomy of rural and urban, and the correspondingly prescribed governing structure, appears insufficient. Because there is an intermediate settlement development between the two extremes where rural and urban functions overlap without recognisable borders. A complex web of geographical, cultural, economic, and historical events combine to produce such structures. The urban-rural continuum, sometimes known as the rural-urban continuum, has received a lot of attention recently. This axiom states that prospects for social and economic growth rely on one’s position along the transition from rural to urban, which is accepted to follow a graded curve of development.

‘Economic and social development along the urban­ruralcontinuum­New possibilities to inform policy,’ a 2021 World Bank Policy Research Working Paper, pushed for adopting the idea of urban catchment regions delienated along an urban­rural continuum. The identification of such places will assist in understanding urban-rural linkages, which is crucial for resolving challenges linked to environment and natural resource management as well as for making policy choices across development sectors. This would encourage the development of regionally nuanced viewpoints, which are necessary to confront the growing spatial inequality.

Reimagining the Rural Urban Continuum, a 2008 study by the Desakota Research Team, was based on research conducted in eight nations, including India. It placed a strong focus on comprehending how ecosystems and livelihoods are changing throughout the continuum of rural and urban areas as a result of diverse economic systems, as this has significant policy consequences at all levels. The establishment of the rural–urban continuum is referred to as desakota in Indonesian.

Kerala in India is renowned for its rural-urban transition on the coastal plain. Even the Moroccan traveller IbnBatuta in the fourteenth century took notice of this. The lowlands and adjacent midlands and highlands were also affected by the trend’s subsequent expansion. Geographical considerations combined with positive public policy that supports decentralisation and distributive justice have enhanced rural-urban links and decreased rural-urban differences in the majority of Kerala. The rural-urban continuum has emerged in many regions of the country recently, however the fundamental elements supporting them differ from those highlighted in Kerala. India’s urban-industrial interaction sectors are expanding by connecting rural regions, small towns, and megacities, and by creating urban corridors that reach rural hinterlands.

Technology and economic globalisation have improved inter- and intra-national connectedness during the past 30 years, increasing resource and human mobility. A rural-urban continuum is promoted through the expansion of transportation and communication networks, better energy availability, more affordable private and public transportation, and the penetration of economic and other networks into remote places. Physical boundaries are eroding as a result of growing rural-urban links, which have given rise to diffused network areas. Several metropolitan centres are connected to rural hinterlands. Production and labour market connections have been increased through the movement of people, products, information, and money between locations of production and consumption. As the pull causes increase, the push factors that are pushing people out from both urban and rural places are also getting stronger. A mixed economic zone with primary, secondary, and tertiary industries has resulted from this approach.

Ecosystems are undergoing change in regions along the rural-urban continuum. Lands with a high potential for agriculture are being devoted to other purposes. Zones for food security are being rearranged. Filtering areas for pollutants are shrinking. Waste dumps are expanding, catastrophe risk is rising, and vulnerability is rising. Locals have less access to the water, food, fuel, fodder, and fibre that ecosystems provide. The emergence of intermediate market organisations to offer these items at the same time has important ramifications for the local population. They are further marginalised by the rise in land prices on the market.

Without mentioning the rural-urban continuum, discussions on social and economic development, environmental challenges, and their connections are incomplete. Through this perspective, one may see potential for better access to jobs, services, institutional resources, and environmental management as well as obstacles for enhancing both urban and rural government. For different development sectors, the institutional ties between rural and urban regions work at different degrees. Building rural-urban partnerships is the main problem of decision-making. A systems method is suggested to do this, where the city and its surrounds constitute a city area for which a perspective plan is created by fusing rural and urban plans into a single framework.The rural-urban distinction will ultimately disappear as the city and the countryside progress towards a post-urban society. It is crucial to better map the connections between rural and urban areas, and satellite-based settlement data combined with Census data may be helpful for this.

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