Cities: Engines of Rural Development:
Promoting Positive Rural-Urban Linkages, Integrated Development and Sustainable Urbanization Policies to realize enduring Rural Development in Developing Countries.
- Urban and Rural matters are treated separately by governments,
international organization and donors though there is a significant
socio-economic and environmental interdependence between them.
- Rural areas suffer from high transportation costs, reducing
competitiveness of rural produce and access to imported goods.
- Peri-urban poverty is a growing phenomenon as both urban and
rural authorities neglect the area.
- Peri-urban is also facing environmental degradation through
urban expansion, refuse dumping and abandonment of agriculture
(traditional natural resource management).
- Cities chaotic developments are further deteriorating, due to
neglect, as a result of prevalent anti-urban biases and undeveloped
potential in regards to for example tourism.
A holistic approach to local, national, and regional territorial development that simultaneously takes into consideration urban and rural areas is now gaining attention. The dichotomous urban versus rural development approach is now being replaced by three modes of holistic development; rural-urban linkages development, Integrated development and Sustainable Urbanization Policy approaches. The Journal elaborates these three approaches by presenting various practical examples from Asia, Africa and Latin American Contexts. It also presents a host of best practices from various cities to illustrate particular strategies that are used to bridge rural urban divides like Tourism, Development of Small and Medium sized towns, Peri-Urban Developments, Rural economy diversification, and Creation of Development Corridors.
Classical Economic wisdom stipulates that Urban development is a
secondary economic activity that should be an outcome of Rural
development, in farming and mining, which is said to be the primary
- Consequently Rapid Urbanization in developing countries,
without a matching rate of industrialization, is seen as
- Subsequent measures tried to cut back urban migration and
focused on rural development.
Current global economic situations however clearly illustrate
that cities are engines of rural development. The increasing
population, epecially in rural areas, against a diminishing size of
farm land entails a modernization of farming.
- Cities provide the products and services that derive
agriculture and also provide storage, packaging and exporting of
- Cities finance and provide health, education and infrastructure
provision in rural areas.
- Cities provide the necessary human, socio-economic and
political development to improve rural quality of life.
Promoting rural-urban linkages is one way to stimulate rural
development. This can be, for example, realized through
- better mobility between urban and rural areas,
- developing Small and Medium sized town as bridges between urban
and rural developments and
- facilitating Eco-Tourism in addition to the classical
city/monument based tourism.
Integrated development is another methodology that
simultaneously coordinates investments in both urban and rural
areas. This can be, for instance, realized through
- the creation or upgrading of more urban centers to absorb
surplus rural labor,
- transforming transport corridors into regional development
- diversification of rural economy
Sustainable urbanization policies are yet another methodology
which argues that resisting urban growth stunts rural development.
These can consist of
- building up the necessary political, managerial and technical
capacities to manage sustained urban growth,
- stronger attention to peri-urban regions as interfaces between
urban-rural areas. Thus the inability of decentralization of
governance in tackling peri-urban is meant to be tackled by
coordinated governance between urban and rural areas.
- promoting higher productivity of urban labor that can be taxed
for the expansion of national infrastructure while the city serves
as a market for agricultural products.
Through A Quarterly Journal that has wide International circulation
There is a consistent positive correlation between levels of
urbanization and economic development, between urbanization and
human development, and the like. The chaotic urban situation by
itself shouldn’t be seen as pathological but as lack of capacity to
handle the situation. People migrate to cities in search of better
opportunities and they usually find it by creating their own jobs.
Even tough these jobs are informal, insecure and exploitative they
are more attractive than fighting for survival in a miniscule plot
of land in an overcrowded rural setting. Therefore, the tendency to
let cities solve their own problems and focus on assisting rural
development is a fallacy. Well functioning cities are
engines of rural development. If farming and mining are to become anything more than subsistence activities in a globally competitive world, they must accrue added value given by a cities infrastructure, service and innovation.
Unite Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT)
P.O.Box 30030, Nairobi, Kenya
Roman Rollnick (Editor of Habitat Debate Journal), tel. +252-2-623988
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Habitat Debate | Cities - Engines of Rural Development
01 Sep 2004, pdf, 1MB