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Urbanisation, Urban Growth and Urban Management in India: Shifting Paradigms

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The most striking feature of India's urbanization is its long history of around 5000 years. Indian urban centres have been playing significant role in shaping the cultural landscape. While talking about the causative factors underlying the urbanization processes, Ramachandran (1989) remarked that during the prehistoric period the urbanization was synonymous with the rise and fall of civilization (cultural process); from ancient to the British period, it was related with the rise and fall of the kingdoms and dynasties (political process); and, in the post independence period it has been associated with industrialization and economic development (economic process). Besides, rural areas have also been converted into urban bodies by the competent authority from time to time (administrative process). So, urbanization is a function of various forces operative over space at different points of time.

Despite a long history of urbanisation, India still remains relatively less urbanized country with 27.78% of the population living in urban areas as compared to the world average and other developed/developing countries. At the world level the degree of urbanization is 42%. In developed countries like United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Brazil, United States and France the level of urbanization is above 70% while in the developing countries it is 37%. As compared to developed or developing countries the level of urbanization in India (27.78%) seems to be less but the absolute Indian urban population is gigantic (285.4 million) next only to China and the contribution of urban centres in the national economy is immense. It is estimated that the contribution of urban sector to the GDP has increased from 29% in 1951 to 65% in 2001 and 90% of the revenue comes from the urban sector. Cities are considered to be the engine of economic growth and provider of jobs, services and assurance for better quality of life.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5848/CSP.1625.00017

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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  • Indian Geography in the 21st Century: The Young Geographers Agenda
    This book, primarily a collection of statements on action agenda to be pursued in geography in India, consists of nineteen chapters exclusively authored by the young geographers. It is organised into five parts: Part I provides "The Contextual Orientation", Part II contemplates on "Reshaping Geography Education", Part III explores "Resurrecting Physical Geography", Part IV looks at "Retrieving Human Geography", and Part V: "The Summum Bonum" attempts to garland the emerging thoughts. The book seeks to provide a peep into the future Indian Geography and serve professional geographers, researchers, teachers and students alike.
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