The word urban underlies a basic theme. One that its population size is larger than its rural counterpart, two that its size is definitely larger and three that its functions are varied. Function is probably the most important criterion to define a town. The other criteria are population size and population density. Different countries have different parameters to explain an urban space. India has one too.
In India, the criteria for identifying urban places kept changing with time. The frequent changes in the criteria reflected the basic problem of identifying urban places and the issue could not be settled till 1981.
In India, urban areas are given different administrative status by different state governments. The conferring of this status depends on the state-level Municipal and Local Bodies Acts. A place has to satisfy all the three Census criteria in order to be designated as an urban place even if the requirements are criticised by some to be vague, rigid and conservative.
The 1981 Census defined an urban place as:
(A) a place with a municipality, corporation, or cantonment, or notified town area
(B) any other place which satisfied all the following criteria:(i) a minimum population of 5,000;
(ii) at least 75 per cent of the male working population engaged in non-agricultural; and,
(iii) a density of population of at least 400 per square kilometre or 1,000 persons per square mile.
At present, we have 35 million cities (2001 census) in India and 27.8 percent of our people live in the towns and cities.
Many eminent scholars have studied the intricacies of a city and have proposed some unique findings. It was J. Gottman who first coined the term Megalopolis. This city was envisaged to have a population size over 35 million people. G. Sjoberg in his book ‘The Pre-Industrial City’ examined the structure of urban settlements both in Europe and elsewhere in the world, prior to the impact of large-scale industrialization. Then there were many more like Harvey, Peet, Pred etc. who went to make our understanding of cities more lucid.
The Eminent Titles
J. Gottman, Megalopolis: The Urbanized North-eastern Seaboard of the United States, M.I.T. Press, Cambridge, Mass, 1961.
G. Sjoberg, The Pre-Industrial City, Past and Present, The Free Press, New York, 1960.
Building a city isn’t an easy job. The site factors have to be taken into account so that the city is provided with its basic amenities. Then comes several others factors that depend upon what the city’s basic function is to be.
These towns include, capital cities of nations, provinces, district and other administrative units.
Example: Delhi, Chandigarh.
Most countries maintain Armies, Navies and Air forces for the defence. Such towns generally have barracks and training facilities for the armed forces.
Example: Jalandhar, Jodhpur and Jammu.
Many towns have cultural functions such as the provisions for education, art galleries or religious buildings, pilgrimage centre, and more.
Shantiniketan, Pantnagar etc. are educational towns.
Bombay and Pune etc. film centers.
Lhasa, once the seat of the Dalai Lama of Tibet.
Banaras, Hardwar, Ajmer etc. pilgrimage centers.
Mining Towns, fishing Ports and Lumbering Centres are included in collection centres:
Mining Towns— Raniganj and Jharia.
Fishing Ports — Calicut, Cochin and Pondicherry.
Lumbering Towns: Papernagar, Kathgodam, Haldwani.
Business houses, Banks, Insurance Companies and other financial organisations are included in it. It mainly includes those related to trading, retailing and commercial services.
Examples: Muzaffarpur (in Bihar), Nagpur, Bhopal, Kanpur etc.
These are places where exchanges of goods take place i.e collection and distribution. They mainly include large business markets or mandis besides, a wide range of shops,stores,warehouses and godowns, supported by a well knit network of transport facilities.
Examples: Ludhiana, Tirupur.
These are located in favourable geographical surroundings basically recreational pleasant places to live in. It has hotels, guest houses, film theatres, night clubs, amusement parks, shopping centres etc.
Coastal Resorts with sea-side recreational facilities for water sports such as Goa, Kanya kumari, Allepey;
Hill Resorts provide scenic beauty, cool climate and adventurous and thrilling sports i.e. trekking, skiing etc. such as Darjeeling, Auli, Shimla etc.; and,
Health Resorts mainly based on health-giving waters somewhat like health spa such as Manikaran, and favourable climate in Ranikhet, Kasauni etc.
These are mainly modern towns with all facilities for healthy, good and comfortable life away from congested and polluted cities. These are often well planned and located in a neat and healthy milieu.
Example: Chandigarh, Salt Lake City (Kolkata)
Last but not the least; a mention must be made of the shanty town and slums, a product of the accelerating urbanization process. It is a district of temporary, generally overcrowded, lacking in amenities and characterized by a high incidence of disease, extreme poverty and more.
Darknet, also known as dark web or darknet market, refers to the part of the internet that is not indexed or accessible through traditional search engines. It is a network of private and encrypted websites that cannot be accessed through regular web browsers and requires special software and configuration to access.
The darknet is often associated with illegal activities such as drug trafficking, weapon sales, and hacking services, although not all sites on the darknet are illegal.
Examples of darknet markets include Silk Road, AlphaBay, and Dream Market, which were all shut down by law enforcement agencies in recent years.
These marketplaces operate similarly to e-commerce websites, with vendors selling various illegal goods and services, such as drugs, counterfeit documents, and hacking tools, and buyers paying with cryptocurrency for their purchases.
Anonymity: Darknet allows users to communicate and transact with each other anonymously. Users can maintain their privacy and avoid being tracked by law enforcement agencies or other entities.
Access to Information: The darknet provides access to information and resources that may be otherwise unavailable or censored on the regular internet. This can include political or sensitive information that is not allowed to be disseminated through other channels.
Freedom of Speech: The darknet can be a platform for free speech, as users are able to express their opinions and ideas without fear of censorship or retribution.
Secure Communication: Darknet sites are encrypted, which means that communication between users is secure and cannot be intercepted by third parties.
Illegal Activities: Many darknet sites are associated with illegal activities, such as drug trafficking, weapon sales, and hacking services. Such activities can attract criminals and expose users to serious legal risks.
Scams: The darknet is a hotbed for scams, with many fake vendors and websites that aim to steal users’ personal information and cryptocurrency. The lack of regulation and oversight on the darknet means that users must be cautious when conducting transactions.
Security Risks: The use of the darknet can expose users to malware and other security risks, as many sites are not properly secured or monitored. Users may also be vulnerable to hacking or phishing attacks.
Stigma: The association of the darknet with illegal activities has created a stigma that may deter some users from using it for legitimate purposes.
AI, or artificial intelligence, refers to the development of computer systems that can perform tasks that would normally require human intelligence, such as recognizing speech, making decisions, and understanding natural language.
Virtual assistants: Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant are examples of virtual assistants that use natural language processing to understand and respond to users’ queries.
Recommendation systems: Companies like Netflix and Amazon use AI to recommend movies and products to their users based on their browsing and purchase history.
Efficiency: AI systems can work continuously without getting tired or making errors, which can save time and resources.
Personalization: AI can help provide personalized recommendations and experiences for users.
Automation: AI can automate repetitive and tedious tasks, freeing up time for humans to focus on more complex tasks.
Job loss: AI has the potential to automate jobs previously performed by humans, leading to job loss and economic disruption.
Bias: AI systems can be biased due to the data they are trained on, leading to unfair or discriminatory outcomes.
Safety and privacy concerns: AI systems can pose safety risks if they malfunction or are used maliciously, and can also raise privacy concerns if they collect and use personal data without consent.