Urban centres are numerous, and these vary in their size, functions, location and in their social composition, culture and heritage too. It is therefore worthwhile to classify towns into categories for better understanding about their role .
The problem of classifying urban centres is not an easy task. This is because of several reasons. First, the number is too large to handle on some viable grounds. The size of towns has a wide span ranging between 5,000 to 10,000,000, and this might not characterize town’s personality by breaking these into subjective or arbitrary classes. Tier classification system of Indian Cities is an example.
Second, the towns have a long historical background and have been under various regimes dating back thousand years from birth of Christ to the present era of democratic set-up. Finally, the data about functions and economy of Indian cities have not yet been standardized because of the absence of a suitable urban agency to deal with these. Under these circumstances classifications and categorization of urban places in India differ from state to state and from author to author.
There may be several methods, ways and means to classify urban centres. Site and situation of towns, population, size and functions, their social and cultural environment, etc., are some of the recognized bases to put them into groups. Out of all the bases of classification, the variable of ‘function of a town’ is widely accepted and reliable too. ‘Reliable’ in the sense that town itself is defined as an unit characterized by non-agricultural activities.
Non-agricultural activities include administrative, industrial, commercial, cultural, etc. It is rarely that a town is ‘mono-activity’ centre. Often towns develop diversified activities and are known to posses multifarious functions like economic, administrative and cultural.
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