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There is no specific definition that exist which qualifies any as Metropolitan. The metropolitan cities are generally regarded as million plus cities. And their number has substantially increased over the years. But why we felt need to classify cities into these kind of hierarchies. The answer of this question may be lie in a different question which is ‘how are the metropolitan cities different from the lower hierarchy cities?’

There have been many attempts to define how activities organize themselves in a city by use of various urban realm models. Various studies and widely accepted models include Central Place Theory, Concentric Zone Model, Multiple Nuclei Model and Sector Model. Though widely appreciated none of the model is able to define the development and spatial arrangement of modern cities. Along with these model various other studies and research pertaining to cities such as City Branding, Rank Size Rule, Primate City & Primacy etc.

Growing Cities

Growing Cities( CC0 Public Domain image)

The answers of all the questions mentioned above lies in a single word i.e. ‘Activities’. As we all know that each & every settlement cannot survive itself without performing certain activities such as: Growing food, building of houses, making clothes, etc. And, these activities may differ from one settlement to other. The types of activities increase with the size of the settlement or group of settlement & also will become more and more complex. A large population size can also demands for an infrastructure includes; Water supply, sewerage, solid waste management, housing, etc. So, to cope up the whole situation first we need to describe certain hierarchies and to divide the settlements accordingly and then to setup a management for reducing the difference between infrastructure demand & supply. More and more land is required to be put to use and land use needs to be allotted. Hierarchy and types of plans differs from country to country with complex structures.

 The management of metropolitan areas faces certain challenges that are as follows:

  1. The challenge of urban growth;
  2. The challenge of decay
  3. The challenge of shortages
  4. The challenge of external pressures
  5. The challenge of innovation

To meet the challenges the management should evolve a strategy, both on a long term and short term basis and action to put the strategy to put into effect.

In dealing with the growth, it is necessary to assume that growth would be there and have to be conceived with the limitations by available natural amenities. Growth beyond those limits will lead to decline in standards and ultimately decay. The strategy for promoting growth should also contain a strategy for containment of growth. It is also important that the strategy should lead to the growth being productive part of the metropolitan economy and not a burden on it.

The challenge of decay is one that is faced continually by all the metropolitan cities. Decay, its removal and replacement is necessary to be made integral part of the growth strategy. A development of a type in an area should be for a limited period after which it would be necessary for the owner to undertake renovation or redevelopment.

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The challenge of shortages can lead to serious decline of the living standards. The strategy to address the areas with shortages should include prioritization which include the identification of most vulnerable area and then to come up with a solution as early as possible to control the situation and prevent counter urbanization. Amongst the challenge of external pressures, perhaps the most acute is that of migrant population in search of jobs or self-employment. The phenomenon of migration exerts very large pressure on the metropolitan cities causing breakdown of service systems. The solution to that issue is explained in the article which is ‘ to undertake the establishment of migrant camps on the periphery and asking employee of casual or contract labor to take their employee force from there by providing to and fro transport. A strict enforcement of policies should be there to avoid haphazard growth.

Public Participation

For the Metro-management to be success, it has to have effective public participation. All the strategies related to development, checks and controls can only be enforced effectively if the people of each area collaborate and assist the management.

Public dominated cities

Public dominated cities ( CC0 Public Domain image)

Community participation is defined as the “creation of opportunities to enable all members of a community to actively contribute or to influence the development process to share equitably the fruits of development”. The broad objective of participation is to:

  • Strengthen civil society and democracy;
  • Increase the effectiveness and efficiency of investment; and
  • Mobilize people for active involvement in the governance.

 So, it becomes necessary for the people of the area to be educated in regard to their own interest as well as for the society as a whole. Therefore the prime objective of the management is to engage people in planning process and work for the requirement of an area to grow properly.

Author Bio:

Shubham Aggarwal, founder of PlanningTank is an Urban Planner from India working to improve the human settlements. PlanningTank is the Urban, Regional, and Rural Planning Knowledge base which provides insight into to urban and rural areas. It focuses on educating, engaging and developing the community.