Rural-urban (land) transformation: - emergence of urban centres in Tanzania

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The paper focuses on urbanization in rural regions in Africa. Emphasis is on the processes of spatial change, articulated as rural-urban transformation, in which small urban centres are emerging in rural areas - a type of settlement growth that occurs disassociated from larger existing urban centres. These settlements are generally not acknowledged as urban entities, but are involved in an administrative process in which they form part of a larger entity that is about to be given urban administrative status. To capture this process the concept of emerging urban centres (EUCs) is suggested. The empirical analysis focuses on how rural Tanzania is urbanizing. By comparing four different trajectories of growth, it is illustrated how settlement growth vary due to different pre-conditions and due to specific dynamics of crop value chains. It is also illustrated how migration to the settlements and the establishment of businesses are part of this growth and gradually occurs detached from the crop value chain dynamics.
As the settlements are composed in the ‘rural-urban continuum’, the transition has led to a process of (re-)classification of land and land use, which include interactions of regulatory systems and governance practices from national to local scale. As this process involves different stakeholders, it often leads to conflicting perceptions on land as a resource – this may influence aspects of tenure leading to conflicts and new power relations. It is discussed how these developments produces challenges to the exiting governance systems, and finally how the findings provide new insights to debates on rural transformation and the fuzzy distinction between rurality and urbanity.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2020
Publication statusIn preparation - 2020
Event4th Open Science Meeting of the Global Land Programme: Transforming Land Systems for People and Nature - University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
Duration: 24 Apr 201926 Apr 2019


Conference4th Open Science Meeting of the Global Land Programme
LocationUniversity of Bern
Internet address

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