Urban Growth Dynamics : Analysis of the Evolution Process of Small Urban Centres in Developing Countries

Abstract: Despite the fact that small urban centres accommodate the largest share of urban population, in most developing countries small urban centres are neglected by urban analysts. This means there is inadequate information on their growth characteristics and patterns of land use development.The overall aim of this study is to explore the growth, land use and socio-economic characteristics of small urban areas in developing countries, to inform policies and theory. The study used coding and SPSS techniques to analyse data from the in-depth study of a single case study area. Tools and methods for data collection included mapping, household surveys, document review, storytelling, in-depth interviews and observation in the field.The results indicate that the growth of interactions with other centres, the way people access and develop land, and rapid spontaneous growth of settlements are key factors affecting the emergence of different land use categories, while patterns of settlement growth also reflect the uneven provision of basic services. Theoretically, the study supports the propositions regarding land replacement and patterns of settlement development, while challenging assumptions about socio-economic segregation. The thesis contributes to knowledge on the evolution of settlements and their dynamics, changing settlement patterns, and land use reorganisation.

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