The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


The Peri-urban Interface. A Tale of Two Cities


4 November 2011

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More than half the world's population lives in areas that are classified as urban. In developing countries, a substantial and growing proportion lives in or around metropolitan areas and large cities, including the zone termed the 'periurban interface', where their livelihoods depend to some extent on natural resources such as land for food, water and fuel, and space for living.

Robert Brook
Julio Davila

Publication Date: 2001

ISBN:1 84220011 1

The population pressure means that resources in such zones are often overexploited.
Although heterogeneous in its social composition, the peri-urban interface (PUI) constitutes the habitat of a diversity of populations, including lower income groups who are particularly vulnerable to the impacts and negative externalities of both rural and urban systems. This includes risks to health and life and physical hazards related to the occupation of unsuitable sites, lack of access to clean water and basic sanitation and poor housing conditions. Environmental changes also impinge upon the livelihood strategies of these communities by decreasing or increasing their access to different types of capital assets (including access to natural resources such as land, water, energy).

The UK Department for International Development (DFID) conducts its natural resources research programme mainly though programmes coming under the Renewable Natural Resource Research Strategy (RNRRS). RNRRS comprises a number of programmes, of which the Natural Resource Systems Programme (NRSP) is one. Each programme has to address particular production systems, and this volume is concerned with the Peri-Urban Interface (PUI) system.
In 1996, the NRSP research in the peri-urban interface system programme
commenced in two medium sized city regions: Kumasi in Ghana and Hubli-Dharwad in India. A systems based approach was adopted to study effects of urbanisation upon natural, human and financial resource flows, to characterise the main stakeholders, and develop ways in which natural resource management and agricultural production could be improved. Over the past five years, these studies have produced a large volume of information, research reports, a few publishedarticles, and a large database with a Geographical Information System (GIS) interface for Kumasi and its region.