Interested in blogging? We now offer our readers a platform to share their articles and engage with peers from across the globe.

Blog Post

When does a village become a neighbourhood?

Posted by : Soomrit, Bangalore, India, Urban and Water Policy Student
24 May, 2021 00:24:34

The world is rapidly urbanizing and currently it is estimated 4.2 billion people out of approximately 7.7 billion are living in cities. This is the first time in human history that the urban population is more than rural population. This has several implications for urban planners and public policy-makers. Fast-paced urbanization happens with the mushrooming growth of a city which absorbs the neighbouring villages while forcing the local land-owners to move away or sell there land. This is a cause and effect of increasing population growth. Across the world this phenomenon has been observed in cities like Beijing, Shenzen, Tokyo, Jakarta and many more. In the developing world the incorporation of the village into the city is perceived to be a positive step due to the anticipation of economic growth by the rural population. There exist few studies that look at the real impact of gentrification that occurs in the newly incorporated part of the city. Among the rapidly growing Indian cities, the examples of Delhi NCR, Mumbai, and Bangalore stand out. The city of Delhi grew very fast and started incorporating the neighbouring villages and towns of present-day Noida, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad, Faridabad and many more. In case of Mumbai the growth of satellite towns like Thane and Navi Mumbai happened to accommodate the huge populations housing needs. The need for commuting to the central business districts or the office areas led to the further need to build bypass highways and flyovers (with acquired farm-land) and metro projects started coming up in several cities. Bangalore is perceived as the IT(Information technology) capital of India and the proliferation of software companies led to the sudden expansion of the city over the last 20 years. The population expansion led to the incorporation of 110 villages into the city by the BBMP(Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike) in 2007. Unfortunately the newly incorporated villages have neither received piped water like the other parts of the city nor have been connected by good roads. Urban planners must look at the growth of cities with new eyes. There exists an obvious bias in the local municipality and the government when allocating resources to the newly inducted wards of the city. The newly added villages see a mass exodus of the original inhabitants who are cajoled into selling there land to real-estate developers, who eventually develop apartments and gated communities in the area. The other direction that the incorporation of villages into the growing city takes is that the village stays a village only in name. The population continues to engage in non-agricultural occupations and there is complete change in land-use pattern. The panchayat is still in power and stays subservient to the municipality. In both cases there is an animosity between new and old residents. In my personal experience, the expansion of cities has led to an increase in car ownership due to inadequate public transport. In the context of the pandemic understanding the dynamics of neighbourhoods is more important.