Evaluating factors influencing the uncontrolled growth of urban-rural belt – a case study of Delhi, India

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Conference Proceeding
2018, pp. 134 - 142 (9)
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The unprecedented growth of cities in the last few decades gave rise to a new kind of peri-urban area, which is neither urban nor rural in a real sense. The complexity of these spaces has given them various names in different parts of the world such as peri-urban, urban-rural zone, exurbia, transition zone, urban-rural belt etc. These hybrid spaces have a unique socio-spatial dynamic of their own which defy the principles of sustainable development and fail to enjoy the benefits of urban and the subsidised welfares of rural. The transition from agriculture to a new mixed and diversified economic base is one of the significant characteristics of the urban-rural belt. Delhi, the capital territory of India, is not immune to the uncontrolled growth of urban-rural belt. Often referred to as the “policy void zones”, these spaces display an extraordinary “order in chaos”. However, uncontrolled growth of urban rural belt is pertinent in many cities of India but Delhi is the only megacity where this transformation has been enormous in the last few decades and provides a model for the study in Indian context. The massive in-migration and rampant development are threatening the growth of the city on one side and unique characteristics of rural on the other. The people in the urban-rural belt face enormous challenges concerning essential infrastructure services, safety and security, which affect the standard of living. Often regarded as the provider for urban areas, the belt has failed to sustain its own growth, repeatedly, in spite of numerous interventions. This paper investigates the factors influencing the uncontrolled growth of urban-rural belt through a settlement’s perspective in Delhi, India. The methodology is based on the exploratory literature review to understand the growth of urban rural belt. The study briefly outlines the concept of urban rural belt and presents the impact of urbanisation in its proliferation. The temporal change in Delhi’s land use is presented to show the massive extent of transformation in the urban rural belt in the region. A small town is selected in the urban rural belt of Delhi to explain the morphology of settlements and demographic change in the wake of urbanisation. The multifunctional nature of urban rural belt is analysed though land use map of the settlement and socio-economic profile through census of India data. With the help of this case study the paper analyses the urban and rural development policies, which resulted in imbalance in the urban rural integration. The outcomes aid to comprehend the rooted interest of people and institutions in the belt, as well as, bias towards its recognition as zone of unique characteristics. The study concludes by providing recommendations and calling for sustainable development of the belt.
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