Geographical perspectives on the role of small urban centres in regional planning strategy: a study of marketing and trade in Laikipia district, Kenya
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Small urban centers have recently been recognized as important and integral components of regional planning designs in developing countries. For instance, the Kenya Government's Development Policy for ASAL (1992: 64), emphasized the importance of trade and commerce as the main informal sector activity in the centers of these areas. This study sought to study a variety of issues pertaining to marketing in the district in an attempt to find out the potential of growth of small urban centers in the study areas, and in the adjoining rural (agricultural) economies. The study covered the major small centers in the district. The issues studied included potential market areas for some selected centers, distances traveled as applied to preferences of shoppers for centers, modes of transport used, traffic densities among the major routes, hierarchy of centers, marketing trends and problems of the farmers. Both primary and secondary data was collected. Several simple descriptive statistics were applied in data analysis. Also, cartographic techniques were used to present and illustrate such data. Inferential statistics were further used to make general conclusions based on sample results. These included multiple regression and correlation analysis, simple regression and correlation, and chi-square technique. G.I.S was also used in data analysis. The main findings of this work include, the positive correlation between the attractiveness of a center, on the one hand, and both the total number of customers visiting a center and the total number of customers present in that center, on the other hand. Secondly, there was consistency in the modeled zones of influence compared with the empirical ranking of market potentials of centers. The relatively small urban centers registered the highest turnovers compared with the relatively larger centers. Centers which attracted the greatest number of customers were located further away from the households. The study proved the existence of inner and outer ranges of a good or service. It also revealed that the larger the center, the higher the interaction with the hinterland and, hence the higher the likelihood of diffusion of innovation. Crops and livestock are marketed predominantly using specific channels. The most significant consideration by farmers in marketing is prompt payment followed by transport, good prices, ready market, in that respective manner. Thus, use of middlemen was the most popular channel of marketing. In the light of these findings, it is recommended that the Government of Kenya develops an urban growth strategy that allows both for the possibility of decline of trade centers as well as the strengthening of the position of growth centers to be sustained. Also there is need to improve the communication network, and to provide incentives especially where risks are great for investors to locate in both the growth and service centers. Finally, a proper creation of the hierarchical structure of designated growth centers was necessary
CitationMasters thesis University of Nairobi (1997)
University of NairobiDepartment of Arts
degree of master of arts in urban geography in the university of Nairobi.