Definitions for the terms urban, small towns and rural?

  • ooaluko
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Definitions for the terms urban, small towns and rural?

There is wide and diverse difinition and conceptual interpretation of urban, small town and rural accross many countries and within countries, depending of programmes and support.In the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene sector in Nigeria, we used the interpretation in the national water supply and sanitation Policy as a reference point based on population of residents as follows:
1. Urban: 20,000 peopleor more
2. small town (semi-urban): between 5,000 and less than 20,000people
3. Rural: less than 5,000 residents.

However, some programme uses presence of infrastructures, such as pipe borne water supply, among others as the defining factor.

Is it possible to have a universabledefinition of these terminologies?

Regards

Femi Aluko


* Note by moderator:
This post was originally in this thread where Elisabeth had written:

And here I am wondering what is your definition of urban and rural is? Is the town of Mzuzu regarded as urban or rural (or both)? Some town planners in developing countries use the simplistic definition sewer = urban, no sewer = rural, is that also the case in Malawi perhaps?


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  • rkaupp
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Re: Update: Solutions for pit desludging and sludge management in low income urban settlements in Malawi (Mzuzu University)

Hi Femi, WaterAid did some research into small towns with a water & sanitation point of view, results on small-towns.org/ and the report includes the various ways of defining "small towns".

Best wishes
Rémi

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Re: Definitions for the terms urban, small towns and rural?

Dear Femi,

My first impression is that defining those terms by number of residents is
too simplified. Well, it always depends on the purpose of the definition. Do
you need the definition for funding purposes? (some funding schemes are only
available for “small towns” or rural areas).

If it is about to analyze the social or economic structure, other parameters
might be more useful.
For example in Germany I know about the discussion about the relationships
between urban and rural areas and that the development of one area depends
on the surrounding factors and not only on the area itself.

Best regards,
milli

Danijela Milosevic
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  • JKMakowka
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Re: Definitions for the terms urban, small towns and rural?

I agree that population Figures alone are probably not universally applyable. Population density might be more so, but still lacking important aspects.

For example another term for small towns (used in east Africa) is Rural Growth Centre, and I like that it emphasises the population growth aspect, something very important in many cases.

Another term often used is "peri urban" which puts the emphasis on urban fringe areas and urban spread along transportation ways, something that is as a concept given rapid urbanisation, probably also more helpful that the urban / small town dichotomy.

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  • F H Mughal
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Re: Definition of Terms

Definition of Terms

I'm looking for official definition of terms: rural areas; urban areas; rural sanitation; and urban sanitation.

With "official," I mean definitions by JPM (WHO-UNICEF); UNEP; UNHABITAT; UNESCAP; The World Bank; The Asian Development Bank; and WaterAid.

Can anyone help me, please.

F H Mughal

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Re: Definitions for the terms urban, small towns and rural?

Dear Mughal,

I've moved your post into this existing, related thread. Please scroll up and review the previous posts. They may not answer your question entirely but probably go part way. I am not sure if there is a clear cut JMP definition for it. Have you looked at e.g. that WASHwatch website, perhaps they have a definition there? ( washwatch.org/en/ )
If not, we could also check with Amy or others which definition JMP uses; perhaps just the same as the national governments (which may vary from one country to another, as indicated in the posts above).

Regards,
Elisabeth

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Re: Definitions for the terms urban, small towns and rural?

The posts are interesting. They, however, do not answer my question, in full.
There must be definitions by international agencies.

F H Mughal

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Re: Definitions for the terms urban, small towns and rural?

I just got definition of 'community' and 'neighbourhood.'

A ‘community’ is defined as a population living within a single social organizational structure. The term ‘neighbourhood’ is used to describe geographically distinct units within the community.
(Source: Designing a Mixed-Methods Approach for Collaborative Local Water Security: Findings from a Kenyan Case Study; DOI 10.1007/s12403-017-0251-0)

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Re: Definitions for the terms urban, small towns and rural?

Reig, ..., (2016). Delimitaciones de áreas rurales y urbanas a nivel local. Demografía, coberturas del suelo y accesibilidad

"...aims to establish a typology of Spanish urban/rural spaces more complete and detailed than can be obtained using traditional criteria..."

Maya-Kaqchikel - Natural resource manager with more than twenty years of experience in working with government agencies, NGO, and local communities in design, execution and evaluation of complex projects linking the environment to development. Currently, I am undertaking teaching and research at IARNA/URL. In recent years, I have been actively providing technical assistance to the World Bank’s Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES), UNEP global environmental assessment process (GEO-5 and GEO-6), and USAID´s Monitoring and Evaluation Program (MEP). Among other...
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Re: Definitions for the terms urban, small towns and rural?

Dear Mr. Hector,

Thank you for your post. I'm afraid, I cannot read the 138-page document that you have linked, as it is not in English.

Will it be possible for you to arrange for an English version? I'm sure, it must be a useful document.

Regards,
F H Mughal

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Re: Definitions for the terms urban, small towns and rural?

Susana Secretariat:

Do we have the mechanism in the Kunena system for conversion of documents, in whatever language they are, to English language?

I'm eager to have Hector's document in English.

F H Mughal

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Re: Definitions for the terms urban, small towns and rural?

Hi Mughal,

You could copy the content of the pdf file into Google Translate and get it in another language that way. Find the Google Translate page in Google, or e.g. here: translate.google.de/

Good luck,
Elisabeth

P.S. for the benefit of others: we have a Google Translate plug-in at the top of this forum and at the top of the SuSanA website to translate the forum posts and SuSanA website pages as well. Yes, Google Translate is not perfect but it's a pretty good start!

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