Geography: Recommendations through Case Studies: Objectives, Significance of Case Studies, Case Study-I

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Till now we have studied various dimensions of local area planning and processing techniques of data/information. These dimensions will help in conducting the case studies under different geographical setup. To make this work more convenient, we have discussed four case studies. These case studies are related to market, slum, tribal, and hill areas. In this chapter we have given a detailed account of these case studies.


The major objectives of this chapter are:

  • To justify the rationale behind studying the case studies

  • To know different case studies and their local area significance

  • To compare situations and conditions under different geographical setups

  • To analyse and establish relationships with geographical conditions and socio-economic development of local areas

  • To explain the case studies with reference to their planning priorities and socio-economic concerns of the local people

  • To suggest the plan to be taken up for further development

Significance of Case Studies

  • There are marked variations in terms of geographical setup, socio-economic conditions, and levels of development of the people in different parts of the country. We can understand the ground realities better by conducting field surveys. The approach to field survey is generally systematic and follows the set norms of inquiry for all kinds of surveys. However, this approach is not sufficient to take care of specific case studies which are distinct in their nature and solution to planning problems. This creates confusion and provides undue coverage to certain issues which are relatively less meaningful in another setup. As such there is a need for case studies that deal with area and people specific conditions and present the ways to analyse the situations. The case studies reflect different problems faced by specific group of people and areas.

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  • It also reflects the priorities of planning for different local areas and people. For example, market areas are faced with issues like parking space, overcrowding and congestions, quality and variety of goods for different levels of producers and consumers. On the contrary tribal areas suffer with the poor technological base, unhygienic conditions, poverty, and environmental degradation. The priorities of slum areas are sanitation, health, and hygiene, while that of hill areas is inaccessibility, remoteness, and harsh environmental conditions. This is also true is case of functional or occupational surveys. Agriculture in hills, plateaus, and plains varies significantly. It also presents marked variations even within one setup also. For example, agriculture of Punjab is different from that of Assam plains, or plantation areas of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. As such case studies provide genuine basis for analysing area specific planning issues.

Background to Case Studies

  • The case studies presented here have been briefly discussed in terms of their significance in geographic analysis. The case study of market area deals with a location where some people sell their products and services, while other purchase goods and commodities for consumption or for further processing. Markets may vary from a village market, a weekly market to specialized markets, and malls. In the study of a market, interaction is most important for the exchange of goods and services. The case study of slum relates to a geographic situation in which a group of people are forced to live in poor sanitary and unhygienic conditions of living space largely due to poor economic conditions. The study of slum gives an insight into the problem of space and seeks to address some of these issues through developmental activities.

  • The case study of tribal area relates to the habitat, economy, and society of a group of people who practice traditional modes of production and distribution. A tribal group is usually placed in remote geographical pockets like forests, hills, grasslands, and less fertile zones in uplands and lowlands. The study of tribal area explains how a community lives in harmony with nature despite low productions and low level of infrastructures. Remoteness of the tribal areas keeps their culture intact and improving while slow changes continue to put them in the less modernized category. The case study of a hill area explains ruggedness of the terrain, its higher altitude, steeper slopes, and limited land resources. Consequently, pressure on limited fertile land is quite high. It is to be noted that hill areas vary with each other in dimension and significance. For example, hill stations, valley areas, and areas of moderate slopes have varying population pressure due to differing carrying capacity of land. Snowfall is place specific constraint in hill areas. The communities in hill areas remain organized, well-knit, and compact to face the constraints imposed by nature.

Case Study-I

Survey of Market/Weekly Market

  • Market places are the localities where sellers and buyers meet and exchange goods and commodities on payment. Buyers are those who purchase items of their requirements whereas sellers are those who sell the items (goods and commodities) on payment. The marketplaces are broadly of two types- general or retail markets and specialised or wholesale markets. The general marketplaces offer marketing facility for almost all types of goods / commodities. There are shopped to shop variations in terms of goods sold. The number and variety of goods remains limited in case of a retail market centre. It serves the locality and nearby places with all sorts of required goods and commodities. There are large variations in the size of the retail marketing centres. Ranging from a few shops in residential localities or village shopping centres, a retail market centre could be as large as a large cluster of shops. On the basis of the structure and permanence of a shopping centre, the markets could be divided into regular and weekly markets.

  • The regular markets are those which have a permanent physical structure of shops and offer marketing facility on a regular or daily basis. The weekly markets are those which do not have a permanent physical structure of their own rather these shops are mobile and offer marketing facility on the fixed day in a week. These markets have open or partly covered temporary tent or shop like structures which is packed, rolled, and transported to other place where weekly market is scheduled to be held the next day. Weekly markets play significant role by serving large variety of consumer both from rural as well as urban areas. Almost all essential requirements of a household are sold in these markets. Weekly markets have different local names, Painth, haat, bazar etc. These markets are also named after the weekday.

Conducting the Field Work

  • The first task towards conducting field survey is the selection of a market area which should not be too far from our reach and should be an important one. It should be a general mixed type of a market. Conduct a preliminary survey to find out the goods and commodities being sold, select two to five shops under each category subject to twenty-five shops for the total survey. The next step is to collect basic information and prepare the base map of the market. The basic information such as population, area, and civic amenities, and the map of the market can be obtained from the office of the local government (municipality, corporation etc.). In case maps are not available, sketch maps can be prepared. These maps are meant to provide sequence and direction of a place and are usually made not to the scale. All shops are shown having the same space. Such maps serve the limited purpose of the study.

  • The procedure of market survey should be based on the time available and the objectives of the field work. For example, if the shopping centre is small, all shops can be surveyed. However, in case of medium and large sized shopping centres, we need to select varied shops from each lane. Only market locally known as Sunday bazar, Budh bazar, Mangal Bazar etc. can also be surveyed. These markets are regulated under “tak bazari system”. Under this system local government (municipal committee or a village panchayat) offers contract of tak bazari to the contractors (they may be a group of persons or individuals) for smooth functioning of the market. The charges of tak bazari are proportionate to the area occupied by the shops. For example, a shoe repair shop covering one sq. metre area may pay Rs. 5.00; while a cloth merchant with 8 to 10 sq. metre area shop may have to pay Rs. 50-99 for the market day.

  • The specialised markets deal with the marketing of a few goods or commodities. These markets are characterised by the cluster of shops dealing with the same specialised item on sale. Most of these markets deal with the wholesale trade and offer great range of variety in the quality of the specialized item. For example, grain market (Galla Bazar), market of pulses (Dal Mandi), fruit market (Phal Mandi), vegetable market (Sabzi Mandi), cloth market (Bazar Bajaja), market of ornaments (Bazar Sarrafa), market of stationery (Kagzi Bazar) etc.

  • The customers to the marketplaces are both from neighbourhood and countryside (nearby villages). Since agricultural operations are mostly seasonal in nature, there are fluctuations both in retail as well as wholesale trade. Similarly, during occasions of festivals and ceremonies, there is rise in the trading activity. Contrary to this, during unfavourable weather conditions, there is a considerable fall in the marketing activity. Even during the hours of business, there are peaks and lows of movement of customers. Usually the period between 10.30 to 12.30 PM and 4.30 PM to 6.30 PM is the peak hours of business activity. The shops to be surveyed should be selected on the basis of a suitable sampling technique. However, repetition of the sample should be avoided to reduce the possibility of errors in the results. Having selected the sample shops and sample business activity (general merchants, grocers, clothiers, stationeries etc.), we should conduct market survey shop-wise.

Case Study - II

Slum Area Development: A Case Study of Kanpur City

  • Slums are the shelters of urban poor. They reflect insanitary conditions in the absence of bare minimum social facilities and amenities. Characterized by extremely low level of per capita income and living space, slums are the shelters of urban poor in India’s most of the metropolises. According to an estimate about 20 to 40 % of the population in large cities lives in slums. The increasing industrialisation, growing capital investments, and job opportunities in urban areas continue to attract rural migrants by assuring provision of at least a subsistence means of livelihood. However, increasing housing cost and rental value forces the majority to live in slums. It is, thus, a transfer of rural poverty into urban areas. Majority of the people living in slums are illiterates. Hence, they are employed in low paid jobs or work in low earning professions. Slums are generally known as Basti in Kolkata, Chawls in Mumbai, and Ahatas in Kanpur. As such slums have location specific names in different cities. Nearly 1.65 crore population lived in slums of million plus cities of India in 2001.

  • Kanpur metropolis is situated over the southern bank of river Ganga in the state of Uttar Pradesh. According to the Census of India 2001, Kanpur metropolis recorded a population of 25, 51,337 persons and was ranked 8th among Indian cities. From a population of 2, 02,797 persons in 1901, the city grew more than 12.5 times during the past one century. Accordingly, about 24 thousand persons are added to the city every year. The rapid growth of industries, trade and commerce worked as gravitational pull for the labour from neighbouring districts of Uttar Pradesh. According to an estimate about 76.27 % population of the Kanpur City lived in the congested part of the city centre.

  • Field survey of a slum locality (Kanpur metropolis) was undertaken at two successive steps. The first step was based on total survey of slum dwellings in Bansmandi, Darshanpurwa, and Chamanganj area with regard to sanitation, health conditions, and provisions of public utilities. The second step related to sample survey of households (25) randomly selected from slum localities in inner, middle, and outer zones of the city. This survey deals with population size, living space, employment, and income of the households.

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