The Central and Northern parts of Kerala have a high pace of urbanisation with Malappuram district having the largest increase in the urban content within a decade (2001-2011) followed by Kozhikode district, according to the State Urbanisation Report prepared by the Department of Town and Country Planning, which was released on Wednesday.
However, if the urban content from 1971 onwards is taken into account then Kannur district tops the list followed by Ernakulam district. Though Kannur district is having maximum pace in urbanisation, the change in population density is negative indicating spreading of urban area rather than concentration.
Thiruvananthapuram district shows comparatively lower pace in urbanisation, but the change in density is the maximum, indicating comparatively concentrated form of urbanisation in the district.
The report says that though the population density of the state as a whole is high among the Indian states, the population density of urban agglomerates in Kerala is less when compared to cities in other states. ‘’Population density variation is seen within the urban agglomeration. The analysis of change in population of the core and fringe of urban agglomerations shows that the core is either in stagnation stage or even exhibit negative growth, where as fringes grow at a higher rate,’’ says the report.
According to the report, the built-up nature of urban areas of Kerala shows that even within the high density grids, the maximum coverage is only 32 per cent indicating that there are underutilised pockets within the urban areas of Kerala.
‘’The analysis of population growth rate indicates that Kerala is likely to achieve zero population growth in 25 to 30 years. The low population growth rate with high level of urbanisation will increase the scarcity in labour force, especially in agriculture and related activities. This demands for a change in the present practice of agriculture
from a family affair to more of a professionally managed affair. Mechanisation suitable to the state is an inevitable impetus to it,’’ the report recommends.
The report also recommends a detailed study on the underutilisation of land in the urban areas in the state. ‘’The maximum population density that has been achieved even in the core of urban areas in the present human settlement pattern in Kerala is in the range of 6000-7500 persons/ sq km. This is low when compared to urban areas elsewhere in the country indicating a underutilisation of land. A
detailed study is recommended to asses the reasons for the same,’’ the report suggested.