Semester Offering: January

The main objective of this course is to provide the conceptual and theoretical foundations of rural-urban relations in the context of regional development with case studies from Asian countries. This course integrates between the rural and urban planners/professionals to identify appropriate policy measures and programs in bringing balanced development.


The student on completion of this course would be able to:
  • Explain theoretical and empirical knowledge of rural urban development and process of rural-urban change,
  • Assess critically review empirical studies from both developed and developing countries,
  • Identify and analyze issues in the context of rural-urban development dynamics and policies,
  • Apply the knowledge gained for developing Asian cases, and
  • Synthesize programs and projects for balanced rural-urban development.




I.         Introduction to the Study of Rural-Urban Relations (RUR)
1.     Rural and urban typology, definition and criteria
2.     Urbanization trend and key issues of rural and urban areas
3.     Rural urban disparity, rural urban continuum, and other key terms
4.     Types of RUR and development paradigm  
II.        Historical Background and Perspective
1.     Historical Perspective
2.     Nature, Functions and Theories about the Origin of Cities
3.     Evolution of Cities and their Relations with the Countryside
4.     The Rise of Market Towns and the Commercialization of Agriculture

III.       Spatial Models of RUR
1.     Von Thunen's Isolated State
2.     Normal and Abnormal Central Place Patterns
3.     Macro-Spatial Development Models and Rural Urban Relations in Asia (Cases of South Asia, Southeast Asia, China, Korea and Japan).

IV.       Changing Functional Relationships between Town and Country in the Industrial Era
1.     Parasitic versus Generative Cities
2.     The Colonial City

V.        Lipton’s Thesis of Urban Bias
1.     Defining Urban Bias with Basic Factors and Symptoms
2.     Critics of Urban Bias and Lipton’s Counter Argument
3.     Recent Views, Validity of Thesis and Antithesis

VI.      Market Relations

1.     Terms of Trade and Market Structures: The National and Local Scale
2.     Price Distortions in Agricultural Marketing and Government Policies
3.     The Role of Private Market Entrepreneurs in Rural Development

VII.     Rural-Urban Migration
1.     Theories and Models of Migration
2.     Migrants’ Characteristics, Impact of Migration on Rural and Urban Areas
3.     Remittances and Its Effects on Rural Development
4.     Migration Policy Alternatives and Implications

VIII.    Rural-Urban Transfer Mechanisms
1.     Infrastructure and Technology
2.     Capital Flows: Credit and the Role of the Banking System
3.     Flow of Information and Innovation

IX.      Development Policy Alternatives and Implications
1.     Role of Secondary Cities in Rural Development
2.     Growth Poles and Growth Centers Strategy of Development
3.     Johnson's Market Center Strategy  
4.     The Urban Functions in Rural Development (UFRD) Approach
5.     Agropolitan Planning Approach.

X.        Country Case Studies by Students on Selected Topics




No designated textbooks, compendium of reading materials, class notes and handouts will be provided.


1.      E. A. J. Johnson: The Organization of Space in Developing Countries, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1970.
2.      M. Lipton: Why Poor People Stay Poor (A Study of Urban Bias in World Development), Temple Smith, 1977.
3.      Fu-Chen Lo, (ed.): Rural-Urban Relation and Regional Development, Maruzen Asia, 1981. H. Carter: An Introduction to Urban Historical Geography, E. Arnold 1983.
4.      D. A. Rondinelli: Secondary Cities in Developing Countries (Policies for Diffusing Urbanization), Sage Publication, 1983.
5.      Charles Gore: Regions in Question, Methuen 1984.
6.      J. Harris and M. Moore: Development and the Rural-Urban Divide, Frank Cass, 1984.
7.      IFAD, Assessment of Rural Poverty (Asia and the Pacific), 2002.
8.      Mei Zhang, China’s Poor Regions (Rural urban migration, poverty, economic reform, and urbanization), Routledge, 2003.
9.      Arianne M. Gaetano and Tamara Jacka, On the Move (Women and Rural-to-Urban Migration in Contemporary China), Columbia University Press, New York, 2004
10.    Kenneth Lynch, Rural-Urban Interaction in the Developing World, Routledge, 2005
11.    Jytte Agergaard, Niels Fold and Katherive V. Gough, Rural-Urban Dynamics (Livelihoods, mobility, and markets in Africa and Asian frontiers), Routledge, 2010.
12.   Tim Bunnell, D. Parthasarathy, and Eric C. Thompson (Editors), Cleavage, Connection and Conflict in Rural, Urban and Contemporary Asia, ARI , Springer Asia Series 3, Springer 2013.


1.      The Journal of Development Studies, Taylor and Francis
2.      APO Productivity Journal, Asian Productivity Organization
3.      Asian Development Review, ADB
4.      The International Labor Review (International Development Planning Review), ILO
5.      International Development Planning Review, Liverpool University Press
6.      Development Policy Review, Wiley
7.      Development and Change, Blackwell


Week 1 to 3: Lecture and discussion on the Components I and II and a short assignment
Week 4 to 6: Lecture and discussion on the Components III and IV and journal article review assignment
Week 7 to 9: Lecture and discussion on the Components V and VI with an assignment on rural-urban disparity and policy related country specific issues
Week 10 to 12: Lecture and discussion on the Components VII and VIII
Week 13 to 15: Lecture and discussion on the Components IX and X and preparation of case study by students


Lectures with scope for interactive process, searching and reviewing of journal articles relevant to the course, short and semester paper assignments, and presentations of Asian country cases on issues related to different modules of the course. Students need to work on two or three short assignments, and one semester paper on an identified issue of the student’s country using available secondary data and literature.  


The final grade will be computed according to the following components: Midsem Examination (30%), Assignments and Presentations (40%) and Final Examination (30%). Closed-book examinations are given both in the midsem and final examinations.
A relative grading scale such as:
A (more than 85%): Demonstrates clear understanding, analytical and critical thinking, and reflection in assignments,
B+ (75-85%): Good understanding and presentation, fulfils the assignment requirements
B (65-75%): Fair understanding and performance in all components,
C+ (55-65%): Average understanding,
C (45-55%): Below average understanding, and

D: Deficient in all above