Promoting small towns for rural development: A view from Nepal

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[Extract] The proponents of small town development see an important role for small towns in improving the
conditions of the rural poor in developing countries. Firstly, an argument for promoting small towns is that
they provide markets for urban consumer goods from higher-level towns and act as trading centres for
agricultural goods from rural areas (Rondinelli, 1984; Gaile, 1992). It is believed that urban population
growth and agglomeration in small towns creates increased demand for agricultural products from nearby
rural areas. Secondly, small towns are seen as possible locations for providing non-farm employment for
the growing rural populace in hinterland villages (Gaile, 1992; Leinbach, 1992). With expansion of
employment in small towns, they can act as alternate destinations for potential migrants to large cities
(Mathur, 1982). The rapid growth of large cities often results in greater regional inequalities, problems of
governance and environmental sustainability, all of which call for greater attention to smaller towns from
equity considerations as well (ESCAP, 1991; Jones, 1991). Thirdly, proponents of small towns consider
them appropriate locations for concentrating public services, such as agricultural development services,
health services and educational facilities, for reaching a larger rural populace (Taylor, 1981). It is assumed
that the provision of agricultural credit and inputs at the small town level can introduce farming
innovations at the lowest level, rather than allowing them to filter inefficiently down the hierarchy of urban
centres and transportation routes causing time- and distance-delay effects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-50
Number of pages24
JournalAsia-Pacific Population Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1995
Externally publishedYes


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