The largest share of urbanisation in Sub Saharan Africa is taking place in settlements that are smaller than cities. However, these small urban settlements are conceptually neglected and mostly mistheorised as overriding land governance concepts and institutional procedures were designed for large urban centres or the extreme opposite, villages. As a result, there is either a total lack of specific policies on small urban centres or the policies are designed wrongly thus contributing to challenges of informality, poor servicing and environment degradations. This paper, using the Tanzanian case, is an attempt to contribute in understanding the dynamics of small towns through establishing the population thresholds that can appropriately be classified as small towns and the factors driving their growth. The study analyses census data spatially using geographical information system and statistical software. The results indicate that the typical size of small towns where polarisation forces still gravitate towards the town has a number of people between 10,000 and 50,000 people with population density at the core of the settlements ranging from 40 to 120 people per hectare. The major factors for the development are the presence of economic activities that have value addition options contributing to off-farm employment, and the typical radius of its hinterland for each small town is about a one hour drive. As the number of small towns continues to grow in Sub Saharan Africa due to continued polarisation forces, policies and interventions for the management of small have to be pre-emptive and anticipatory.
Ally Hassan Namangaya,
Determinants of Population Growth Trends for Tanzanian Small Towns, Urban and Regional Planning.
Vol. 4, No. 2,
2019, pp. 67-78.
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