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Fringe Development
Rural-Urban Fringe (URF)
It is a zone of transition between the continuously built-up and suburban areas of the central city and rural hinterland. The Urban-Rural Fringe Area has also been defined as “the area of transition between well recognized urban land use and the area devoted to agriculture”. Therefore, urban-rural fringe is a continuous area that starts beyond the urban limits of cities. 

The rural-urban fringe is the boundary zone outside the urban area proper where rural and urban land uses intermix. It is an area of transition from agricultural and other rural land uses to urban use. Located well within the urban sphere of influence the fringe is characterised by a wide variety of land use including dormitory settlements housing middle-income commuters who work in the main urban area. Over time the characteristics of the fringe change from largely rural to largely urban. Suburbanisation takes place at the urban boundary of rural-urban fringe. 
The rural-urban fringe is the zone of transition in land use, social and demographic characteristics, lying between (a) the continuously built- up urban and suburban areas of the central city, and (b) the rural hinterland, characterized by the almost complete absence of nonfarm dwellings, occupations and land use, and of urban and rural social orientation; an incomplete range and penetration of urban utility services; uncoordinated zoning or planning regulations; a-real extension beyond although contiguous with the political boundary of the central city; and an actual and potential increase in population density, with the current density above that of surrounding rural districts but lower than the central city. These characteristics may differ both zonally and sectorally, and will be modified through time.

In Asian countries, especially in China, rural urban fringe is defined as the surface located outside the urban outskirts/ the limit of the built-up surface to the region with rural features. It has been preferred to give the term ‘fringe’ instead of periurban because it is considered that the force of the town alters the features of the fringe and not vice versa through the penetration of the village features into the town or the fringe perimeter 

In Indian scenario, the Urban-Rural Fringe (URF) is an area of mixed urban and rural population and land use, which begins at the point where agricultural land use appear near the city and extend to the point where villages have distinct urban  land uses or where some persons, at least from village community commute to city daily for work or other purposes . 

Urban fringe of the modern city is a significant area because it signifies both urban as well as rural characteristics. This should not be treated as two distinct zones as the city merges percep­tibly into rural countryside by way of mixed land uses.
The definition of the rural-urban fringe given above incorporates a number of important features. First, agricultural land-uses are considered as a distinct rural feature. This is in line with the western viewpoint, but in India the presence of agricultural land-uses is used to define the inner (city ward) boundary of the rural-urban fringe. Thus, if agricultural land-use occurs within the municipal limits, the fringe begins inside the city limits. This phenomenon is common in many Indian cities whose limits have deliberately been defined to include some agricultural land. 

  • The inner boundary of the fringe zone can lie within the city limits and also within the boundary of  the agglomeration.
  • The influence of the city may be seen in the type of crops grown (the presence of vegetable gardens, flower gardens and dairies producing milk for the city, indicating strong linkage with the city)
  • The employment pattern in the village (at least some adults in the village work in the city and commute  to the city on a daily basis)
  • The identification of the rural-urban fringe zone, from the definition above, also involves a close scrutiny of the meaning of the term urban land use.

Metropolitan fringe areas have traditionally been seen as: featuring a diversity of land uses that vary in relation with their urban and rural linkages; “transitional” in nature suggesting from one side “a patterned sequence of uses that become progressively more agrarian in orientation as one recedes from the urban centre”;  inversely, “agricultural land uses, employment and rural linkages are seen as giving way to urban-oriented activities as distance to the city centre diminishes”; and   populated mainly by poor residents recently arrived from rural areas, being engaged in multiple income-generating activities, mostly informal. 

Urban Fringes acquire following heterogeneous patterns of growth, such as:  Metropolitan growth engulfing existing farmlands and villages. 
 Rural migrants creating a “transitional social space” or “temporary holding location” in a rural- to-urban migration process. 
Suburbanization processes where urban dwellers move to the fringe searching for advantages in land rent, or to capitalize opportunities for land acquisition, speculation and informal enterprise.

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