The distribution of farmstead, newly created hamlets and refugee camps the best layout of roads , location of service centres, construction of houses for poor and planning of buildings are the problems, which could be solved by the coordinated and cooperative efforts of Geographers , Sociologists and Planners.
The settlement geographers can suggest the alterations in the pattern of roads and the distribution of services, that can make the transformation least painful. One may study settlement planning in following heads:
- Planning , in relation to locational efficiency of land-use, marketing, living conditions etc.
- in relation to current economic well-being and social dynamics and demands of modernisation
- the service villages and rural service centres as agents of rural change
- the infrastructural development for rural uplift including planning
Before making a plan, one must look rural settlements as social units, to look into their social dynamics, rural urban relationship and change stages between traditional society and advance urban systems.
Ecological Basis of Planning
it is needless to emphasise that, how far ecological processes are dealt with, has now become a criterion of social progress and an index of civilization’s level of culture. here comes geographical research with its great potential for a holistic approach to study the natural and social phenomenon. main trends of ecological research or inquiries in geography can be defined as:
- control over changes in the environment caused by human activity
- scientific, geographic forecast of the consequences of the increased economic activity
- prevention, mitigation and elimination of calamities
- optimization of the environment in the natural technical systems created by man
Planning Service Villages and Rural Service Centres
A three tier system arrangement is evident in the hierarchy of settlements i.e. a dependent village at lower level, central village at higher level and service village at higher level and service centre on the top. A more or less hexagonal pattern will emerge around such service centres. having fixed locational priorities. these emerging centres would fit in, both the traditional as well as well as emerging spatio- temporal frame. As India’s population is on the threshold of an agricultural, non-agricultural and rural- urban continuum, these centres would emerge to take their due position in the locational hierarchy , of population centres. Selection of such centres, however , is to be made continuously, impartially, unbiased and without having any prestige attachment, political or religious.
Settlement planning should follow a holistic approach. Planner should take into account many perspective like Rural Urban Continuum, Rural Urban Dichotomy, Garden City Concept and others. Rural- urban continuum is the merging of town and villages so it may complicate the planning process.The Planner will have to take into account the fast growth of slums specially in Asian Cities.
In multi level planning there is certain hierarchy of regions. We can classify it in many ways depending on chosen criterion/criteria. In India it has a long history.
Unified settlement planning (USP) is a component of regional planning where a unified approach is applied for a region’s overall development. The USP approach is most often associated with urban planning practices in India.
Regions use their land in for various usage, including agriculture, manufacturing, and public administration. For society to develop, it has to amalgamate and develop settlements; their coexistence is the basis for a holistic development of any society in conjunction with regional planning. The Urban sphere of influence is also taken in account.
Sir Ebenezer Howard is known for his publication Garden Cities of To-morrow (1898), the description of a Utopian city in which people live harmoniously together with nature, which forms the basis for unified settlement planning. The publication resulted in the founding of the garden city movement, that realized several Garden Cities in Great Britain at the beginning of the 20th century.
Walter Christaller (April 21, 1893 – March 9, 1969) who was a German geographer, developed the idea of Central Place Theory. It stated that settlements simply functioned as ‘central places’ providing services to surrounding areas.
August Lösch , a German economist, is regarded as the founder of Regional Science. August Lösch expanded on Christaller’s work in his book ‘The Spatial Organization of the Economy'(1940). Unlike Christaller, whose system of central places began with the highest-order, Lösch began with a system of lowest-order (self-sufficient) farms, which were regularly distributed in a triangular-hexagonal pattern. He thought that Christaller’s model led to patterns where the distribution of goods and the accumulation of profits were based entirely on location. He instead focused on maximizing consumer welfare and creating an ideal consumer landscape where the need to travel for any good was minimized and profits were held level, not maximized to accrue extra.
Gandhiji visioned for a free country governed by their own people;he penned down his visions in a book Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule in 1909. Swaraj stated that every village should be its own republic, “independent of its neighbours for its own vital wants and yet interdependent for many others in which dependence is necessary”. A decentralized, unexploited, co-operative, self-reliant and peace-loving development of a region is must for development of India
These ideas of swaraj was developed in light of contemporary scenario in India as Providing Urban Amenities to Rural Areas (PURA), envisioned by former president of India and an eminent scientist Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam and framed by Prof. Emerson.
PURA proposes that urban infrastructure and services be provided in rural hubs to create economic opportunities outside of cities. These ideas will be possible through physical connectivity by providing roads, electronic connectivity by providing communication network and knowledge connectivity by establishing professional and Technical institutions. The mentioned programs will have to be done in an integrated way so that economic connectivity will emanate. The Indian central government has been running pilot PURA programs in several states since 2004
The fundamental objective for a unified settlement plan includes
· Low cost of living with basic requirements.
· Ample work opportunities, near the residences .
· Viability of institutions along with ample options for the clientele.
· Efficiency of the infrastructure, without any prejudice to the density of the settlements.
· Fool-proof security, especially for the areas with large population concentration.
· Each region to be self-reliant and interdependent wherever necessary.
The strategies for achieving the objectives include:
· Definition of the regional modules.
· Minimizing the expenditure on land for urban amenities.
· Avoiding expenditure on the new residences for the population with existing houses.
· Development of efficient and economical transportation systems from origin to destination.
· Comparable generation and utilisation of energy in the module.
· Self-sufficiency in water utilisation .
· Cooperative ownership of the urban land and its key facilities.
Source(s) and Link(s):
Notes of my Teaches Prof. Abdul Munir