Geography Answer Writing P-2 Day-7 Synopsis

Spread the Knowledge

GAWP Phase-2 Day-7

Q.1) Examine the concept of sphere of urban influence and discuss the theoretical methods of delimitation of urban sphere of influence. (20 marks)


The urban sphere of influence can be defined as the geographical region which surrounds a city and maintains inflow-outflow relationship with the city.

Every urban centre, irrespective of the size of population and the nature of function, has a region of influence. Generally speaking, as the size of the population increases, the multiplicity of functions increases. As a result, the influence zone is larger and vice versa.

The area surrounding a city which depends on it for a wide range of needs including employment, retail goods and services, information, marketing facilities, education and banking services.

There are basic notations in relation to the structure of a city region.

  •  the concept of area of city influence.
  • the concept of area of city dominance.

Theoretical methods of delineation of urban sphere of influence

Breaking Point Theory

The theoretical position of the margin of an urban field can be calculated by using a technique known as breaking point theory. The breaking point between two towns divides the people who will travel from those who will travel to another town for similar services. If enough breaking points can be established around a town, its theoretical urban field can be delimited in that way. The position of the breaking point (x) between two towns (i and j) can be calculated using the following formula, in which Pi and Pj. are the populations of the two towns, and d is the distance of the breaking point from the smaller town, j.

Breaking Point Theory

Thus, if two towns with populations of 40,000 and 5,000 respectively are located 18 km apart, the breaking point will lie at a distance of4.9 km from the smaller town.

The use of population size as the force of attraction on either side of breaking point is obviously open to criticism. However, the technique can be modified in a variety of ways by using other indicators such as the size of the working population rather than total population, or a number of retail service outlets in each town.

Location of Breaking point

The Law of Retail Trade Gravitation

Yet another modification of predict the retail trade that two towns will derive from a settlement (k) lying between them. Again, this is relevant to the whole question of the theoretical delimitation of urban fields. The law of retail trade gravitation may be expressed by the following formula

law of retail trade gravitation

where Mki is the volume Of k ‘s trade in town i; Mkj is the volume of k’s trade in town j; Pi and Pj are the population totals of i and j respectively; dkj is the distance between k and j; and dki is the distance between k and i. Substitution of the population figures and distances shown in the hypothetical situation illustrated in figure gives the following result.

On the basis of these figures it can be predicted that the population of village k will patronise the services of town i twice as much as those of town j. A breaking point can be found from the law of gravitation by a process of trial and error.

This involves estimating the position of breaking point, testing it against the formula and then shifting its position until a one-to-one relationship has been found.

These theoretical approaches to the problem of delimiting urban fields are based on the assumption that the population residing in the areas between the towns will organise their shopping expeditions in a rational, logical manner, selecting those towns which lie closest in terms of either time or distance, or which Offer the most complete or most economic range of services. This may not necessarily be the case.

People may be quite satisfied to accept alternatives to the most economic way of organising their visits to the city, and do not always behave in a manner which gives the optimum economic return. Furthermore, man’s actions are influenced by what he thinks exist rather than what actually exist.

Q.2) Discuss the functional classification of towns. (15 marks)


Functional classification of towns attempts to categorize towns and cities according to their economic functions, thereby identifying their roles within urban systems. Most classifications use employment and occupational data.

1. Administrative Towns:

The main function of administrative cities and towns is to administer the country/state or a specific territory. It includes not only the capital cities of countries, but all the centres of provinces, states, districts and other administrative divisions of the country.

2. Defensive Towns:

During the medieval period, most of the towns and cities used to be developed on the defensive sites. Forts and garrisons used to be constructed at strategic places. The defensive towns have barracks, cantonments, and training facilities for the armed forces, airfields, and harbours for warships.

3. Cultural Centres:

There are numerous towns and cities in the world, almost in each of the countries, which perform cultural functions. The cities of Oxford and Cambridge in England are the most suitable examples of educational towns. In these towns, one may find colleges, libraries, hostels, churches, playgrounds, parks and shopping centres. The environmental pollution in these towns is almost insignificant.

4. Collection Centres:

The mining towns, fishing ports and lumbering centres fall under the category of collection centres/towns. There are numerous metallic, non-metallics, precious stones and energy resources which are obtained from mines.

The towns which serve these mines may be small settlements serving a particular mine such as Zawar near Udaipur (Rajasthan), Bjiladela (Madhya Pradesh) and Digboi (Assam).

5. Production Centres:

Urban places, town and cities in which some kind of manufacturing industry is the major function is known as a production centre. The size and appearance of the town are affected by the type of industry located there.

For example, Jamshedpur, Rourkela, Bhilai, Durgapur, Dhanbad and Bhadravati in India, Pittsburgh in USA, Magnitogorsk in Russia and Birmingham in UK are dominated by large steel plants. Such iron and steel producing towns are generally located near the coal fields.

6. Transfer and Distribution Centres:

The main functions performed at transfer centres are the trade, commerce and services. Towns which are concerned with the transfer and distribution of goods, however, have trade as their major function. They include several types of towns. For example, market towns, sea ports and financial towns.

7. Residential Towns:

In some towns, the chief function is simply to house a concentration of population. In such areas, most of the land is devoted to houses, parks and hospitals. These towns are very- well-connected with the major cities, which enables the commuters to get to work each day.

9. Towns of Diversified Functions:

As stated at the outset, towns are classified according to their major functions. So, all those towns (such as Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, etc.) can be put into a definite category in which a large number of activities are conducted. Such towns are referred as diversified in functions.

Q.3) Future role of squatter settlements in Urban Housing. (10 marks)


Write answer to this question on your own.

Q.4) Discuss the transformation of rural-urban fringe. (15 marks)


Transformation of rural urban fringe

The villages beyond the limits of a rapidly growing city undergo a process of change that ultimately results in their complete absorption within the physical city. The nature and intensity of interaction between the village and the city increases within time. In order to understand more clearly t le process of change, five stages of transformation of fringe villages have been identified.

The five stages are:

a) the rural stage, b) the stage of agricultural land-use change, c) the stage Of occupational change, d) the stage of urban land-use growths and, e) the urban village stage

The Rural stage

Initially, the villages located far away from the city and lying just outside the fringe zone and unaffected by the presence of city. There is, in particular, no daily movement of people from the village to the city for employment, for sale of farm products etc. However, occasional visits to the city do occur, for medical facilities, purchases of expensive clothing associated with marriages purchase of agricultural equipment and so on.

The basic criterion for distinguishing the rural villages and fringe villages is the lack of daily interaction with the city.

The stages of agricultural land-use change

The initial impact of the city is seen on agricultural land-use in the village. The city offers a market for products that village is in a position to supply, Such as milk, vegetables, flowers and fruits. A few enterprising farmers in the village may perceive and take advantage of this opportunity, leading eventually to daily contact with the city. The village, in this manner. becomes the vegetable farm and milk shed of the city.

What actually triggers this development, this commercialisation of agriculture in the villages it is difficult to pin-point, but three factors merit mention.

1) the growth of the city population and the demand for products such as milk and vegetables.

2) Improvement in transportation facilities particularly the construction or improvements of roads and the introduction of bus service. As a result the village becomes more accessible than before.

3) People’s awareness and direct contact with the city increases cumulatively over a period of time until threshold for daily movement to the city is attained.

The stage of occupational change

In this stage, the village population responds to employment opportunities in the city. In the initial period, salaried employment is sought at the bottom of the scale, as unskilled workers in factories or as chowkidars, and sweepers in government and business offices.

A concomitant change that occurs in the village is related to the value attached to education More and more children are sent to schools within and outside the village.

The process of occupational change progresses steadily, until most families in the village have at least one member working in the city.

The stage of Urban land-use Growth

Land values in the village tend to increase rapidly as the potential for urban land-uses is recognised both in the village and in the city. The process of land acquisition and its development for urban use begins slowly at first, but gains momentum within Span of 3 to 4 years, As more and more agricultural lands of the village are acquired for urban uses, the farmers in the village are compelled by circumstances to give up farming altogether.

The Urban village stage

The ultimate stage in the transformation of the fringe village is reached when all the land that was in agricultural use is taken up for urban uses. There is now no agricultural and around the village and, farming of any kind is not possible.

Q.5) Enumerate the strategies to be adopted for the sustainability of urbans in developing countries. (15 marks)


Rapidly growing cities and towns are faced with a range of developmental choices that will shape their growth and long-term economic, social and environmental sustainability.

Strategies for Sustainability of Urbans in developing countries are

Transportation and mobility systems

Traffic is one of the major development problems of any major city of the developing world and a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. The development options to ease traffic include mass transit public transport, increased car-centric road transportation or shared economy solutions.

Energy systems

Cities face a trade-off in energy generation systems between options that have lower up-front costs but are often polluting and inefficient (e.g., diesel generators and coalfired plants) and investments in renewable sources (solar, wind or hydro) that may have higher capital costs but are less polluting, produce fewer GHG emissions and often have lower life-cycle costs. Energy efficiency measures in buildings, businesses and industries can provide additional benefits including cost-savings and increased income. Sustainable energy solutions can also contribute to other urban issues such as air quality, waste management, more efficient transport, better health and safety.

Environmental protection and waste management

Many developing countries cite the need to modernize at the cost of environmental degradation. Pollution and water contamination and depletion may be seen as necessary side effects to rapid modernization, with the assumption that, once cities become more developed, the rate of pollution and environmental destruction will decrease and eventually recede.

Yet, cities also present unique opportunities for developing innovative waste management such as waste-to-energy technologies (e.g., methane from landfills), reusing and recycling as an economic opportunity and ecosystem-based sewage treatment. Solid waste management measures including composting and generating energy from methane combustion can also help reduce methane emissions in landfills, increase forest carbon sequestration and contribute to overall reduction of greenhouse gases.

Spatial equality and social equality

Cities are confronted with increased spatial inequalities within cities and between cities. With rapidly growing populations and limited land, the spatial planning choices cities make can risk creating ‘ghettos’ of concentrated poverty, crime, unemployment and limited basic services. Consequently, developing well-off neighbourhoods can create gated communities that privatize the space they occupy and exacerbate the socio-economic gaps between communities and disparities in access to education, health and employment opportunities. Even where physically gated communities are not in use, more subtle forms of exclusion and inequality are evident.

Public space and land development

Countries urbanize to accommodate a growing population by building sewage conduits, water pipes, optic fiber and electricity lines; increasing security and fire fighters; and building and staffing local clinics and primary schools. All of this is done in a much more extensive territory with a proportionally much smaller fiscal base. Public space therefore remains an important urban development choice in which officials must confront short-term gains in economic growth from land development with long-term losses in social inclusion of urban populations.

Governance systems: openness and participation

Developing effective, accountable andtransparent institutions has become a keytarget under SDG Goal 16, signalling thesignificance of a functioning public service.

The urban governance approach focuses not only on the spatial boundaries (‘where’ governance systems are applied), but also on ‘how’ and ‘by whom’ governance and local development processes are promoted, such as supporting the role of elected mayors. Such an approach would need to be holistic and strongly risk informed.


Many developing cities continue to grapple with burgeoning migrant populations from rural areas and foreign countries who move to cities in the hope of finding greater opportunity and peaceful societies. Cities can integrate these migrants and other minority communities into the social fabric of a city or isolate them in camps, temporary settlements or other transient arrangements.

Urban migrants can contribute greatly to the economic growth, cultural diversity, entrepreneurial culture and economic dynamism of a city, providing long-term benefits that will often outweigh the short-term costs of inclusion. Many major cities worldwide have benefited from waves of migration, including global capitals such as New York, Hong Kong, Berlin and Sydney.

Job creation, informality and entrepreneurship

Cities actively promote local economic development by creating employment opportunities that build on the comparative advantages and unique qualities of their localities. Some cities are hubs of innovation and entrepreneurship, such as Bengalore, while others are centers of manufacturing, such as Dhaka. In all instances, the choices cities make to create an enabling environment for development and growth should depend on dialogue and partnership among local-level stakeholders (e.g., employers, workers’ organizations, entrepreneur organization and informal workers), based on an understanding of business opportunities and the labour environment to target skills training, support local enterprises to thrive, and extend social security coverage to informal workers.

Managing risk and investing in resilience

Rapid growth often results in development on hazard-prone sites (coastlines, riverbeds, hillslopes), which increases exposure and vulnerability to climate and disaster risk. Vulnerability to climate and disaster risks in urban areas is also shaped by socioeconomic variables like poverty, security of tenure, access to social safety nets, livelihoods and ecosystem services, and other inequities. Decisions to integrate measures such as disaster risk management and climate change adaptation into national development planning are critical for cities to build sustainability and resilience against future climate and disaster risks.

Urban conflict, violence and crime

Political violence and civil wars increasingly ignite in cities, as they are the locus of political and economic power and social tensions and inequalities. Refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) are increasingly drawn to cities and towns, where they seek better access to basic services and livelihood opportunities.

Click here to download the Synopsis