Mapping Small Towns’ Productive and Employment Configurations

  • Elfie Swerts
  • Eric Denis
Part of the Exploring Urban Change in South Asia book series (EUCS)


The aim of this chapter is to highlight the linkages between economic dynamism and the diversity of small towns. The main challenge is to assess how far the substantial role small towns play in the Indian process of urbanisation is accompanied by their economic expansion and diversification, as well job creation. In the first part of this chapter, we examine the correlation between the sectorial GDP allocation by district and the distribution of small towns. It provides a first glimpse of the economic specificity of small towns in comparison to the larger ones with above 100,000 inhabitants, in their relations to sectorial economic characteristics, and shows the weight of the district’s GDP. In a second part, we explore how those small towns are characterised by differentiated employment structures. This approach validates the enduring importance of agricultural employment as a discriminatory factor between small and larger towns. Finally, the analysis offers an original entry point into the substantial disparities in the landscape of small towns across the subcontinent, in terms of intensity of employment. These disparities help understand how far small towns are often, notably in the backward regions, places of unemployment, coping strategies and poverty, in a context of agricultural transition marked by massive job destruction associated with jobless economic growth. In other regions, some towns emerge as the core of job intensive industrial re-deployments and successful creative clusters often linked to a national and global chain of values and markets.


Gross Domestic Product Large City Small Town Gini Index Male Worker 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work has been done thanks to support by the ANR SUBURBIN, the ERC GeoDiverCity and the FNS project LOGIICCS.


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Copyright information

© Springer India 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Université de Lausanne, SuisseLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Géographie-CitésCNRS - University Paris 1 Panthéon-SorbonneParisFrance

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