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Rural Urban Linkages

Rural Urban Linkages

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Published by winston

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: winston on Apr 14, 2009
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11/17/2010

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Rural Urban Linkages
Resources For the majority of the world's poorest residents, localrural-urban linkages, investment patterns andpopulation movements are probably far moreimportant than the much touted global linkages,foreign direct investments, and international migration. First, rural-urban linkages are important to achieve balanced economic growth. Isolated rural settlementsthat cannot tap local urban markets will not benefit from expanding global markets. Small urban centresbypassed by agricultural exporters will not play a dynamic role in regional development.Second, rural urban linkages can reduce vulnerability, and play a critical role in the livelihood strategies of the poorest groups, both rural and urban. Low income rural dwellers often rely on urban-based non-farm jobs and on remittances and other transfers from migrant relatives. Low income urban dwellers often relyon seasonal farm jobs, and on the help of rural relatives in looking after children and family property.Third, rural-urban interactions are often critical influences on natural resource use and management,especially in the peri-urban interface. But these linkages and interactions are usually neglected by bothlocal government (which tends to divide rural and urban responsibilities) and national government (whoseministries rarely address urban rural linkages directly).Rural-urban interactions can be defined as linkages across space (such as flows of people, goods, money,information and wastes) and linkages between sectors (for example, between agriculture and services andmanufacturing). In broad terms, they also include 'rural' activities taking place in urban centres (such asurban agriculture) and activities often classified as 'urban' (such as manufacturing and services) takingplace in rural settlements.Our work seeks to:
improve our understanding of how changing rural-urban interactions affect the livelihoods of low-income and vulnerable groups in urban and rural settlements (including developing appropriate
 
methodologies) 
support the capacity of local institutions and government to identify the opportunities andconstraints for poverty reduction and regional development provided by rural-urban linkages, andact on them 
help develop a dialogue between national and local government to ensure a better integrationbetween national macro-economic and sectoral policies and local initiatives.The principal topics that we are currently working on are:
Governance in decentralised structures, especially in small urban centres and peri-urban areas
 Because of the variations in the nature and scale of rural-urban interactions between and within nations,local governments are best placed to respond to location-specific needs and priorities. Decentralisation hasgreat potential with regard to efficiency and democratic accountability, but often carries costs andconstraints (such as insufficient revenue and capacity, and weak links with national planning). Specialattention is given to the identification of ways to better support local governments, particularly inimproving the role of small and intermediate urban centres in the development of their surroundingregions and in peri-urban areas.
The role of urban centres in the development of their surrounding rural region
Access to urban markets is key to increasing incomes for rural and peri-urban producers. Crucialdimensions include: physical infrastructure (including road networks and affordable transport); therelations between producers and traders; and farmers' information on how markets operate, includingprice fluctuations and consumer preferences. Special attention is also given to local urban markets as linksto regional, national and international markets through the analysis of commodity supply chains.
Income diversification and rural non-farm employment
There is ample evidence that most rural (and in many cases urban) households rely on the combination of farm and non-farm income sources, thereby reducing fluctuations and risk and, in some cases, increasingtheir asset base. Research on this theme focuses on transformations in local labour markets (ofteninfluenced by globalisation) and how they affect different groups on the basis of gender, age, migrantstatus, ethnicity, wealth and location. Emerging issues such as the role of clustering in the development of small-scale enterprises, and opportunities in the growing tourism industry are also explored.
 
Migration and mobility
With urbanization and changing employment patterns, migration and mobility (such as commutingbetween rural settlements and urban centres) are increasingly important. Specific areas of interest are thedifferences and reasons behind in the mobility of different groups (including the often unintended impactof national macro-economic and sectoral policies), and the impact of migration on households andcommunities in both sending and receiving settlements.
Transformations in peri-urban areas
 The immediate periphery of urban centres often undergoes processes of extremely rapid transformation.There are many opportunities, such as increasing urban demand for high value horticultural and livestockproduce which often trigger agricultural intensification; and non-farm employment opportunities helphouseholds diversify their income sources. But there can also be many constraints, which can result in themarginalisation of vulnerable residents and in environmental problems. Specific areas of interest aretransformations in land tenure and natural resource management (and their impact on low-incomegroups), and the management of different types of wastes originating from the urban centre.
Publications
The Rural-Urban Interactions and Livelihoods Series
includes overviews on the role of urban centresin rural development and environmental issues in the peri-urban interface.Reports from collaborative case studies with partners in Mali, Nigeria, Tanzania, India and Vietnam areavailable asWorking Papersin the Rural-Urban Interactions and Livelihoods Series, and as shorter Briefing Papers.
, edited by Cecilia Tacoli (2006). A collection of keypapers that illustrate the importance of rural-urban linkages for sustainable development.
A special issue of Environment and Urbanization'Beyond the rural-urban divide'(April 1998),including a guide to the literature on rural-urban interactions. (all articles free to download)
The April 2003 issue of the journal Environment and Urbanization also focused on 'rural-urbantransformations'. (all articles free to download)

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