The emergence of rural service centres as growth centres: a case study of growth centres in Bungoma District
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Although studies have been carried out on the notion of growth centres in developing countries, very few have examined this policy at the local level. This study examines this policy in Bungoma District, an area in a transitional stage from subsistence to commercial agriculture • Attention was given to the analysis of people's perception and use of service centres. It was found that due to low per capita income and high friction of distance, people visited centres nearest to their homes irrespective of whether they were large or small. Their use of high order functions and services was found to be relatively limited. Hence, one of the conclusions of this study is that the growth centre policy in rural areas of Kenya should be focussed on smaller centres, especially those located as nodes on the local transportation network. The study also sought to find out the specific functions and services for which people generally visit service centres in rural areas. These can be used as indices for choosing growth centres from which development can readily spread to surrounding areas. A few low ,order and ubiquitous functions such as using the maize mills, the periodic open air markets and the use of bus services were found to be such indices. A well-developed hierarchy of services does not exist in Bungoma District except for administrative functions. For this reason, this study recommends a "dispersed concentration" strategy: that is, rather than concentrating investments in one or two large urban centres in the district such as the district headquarters, investment should be dispersed in a large number of smaller market and rural centres. The concept of hinterlands was analysed using empirical data. Service areas were found to be elongated along transport routes. As such, easily accessible centres like Bungoma, Kimilili and Webuye were found to have larger service areas compared to those not served by an adequate road network.
xmlui.dri2xhtml.METS-1.0.item-identifier-citationMasters of Arts Degree
University of NairobiDepartment of Arts
A thesis submitted in part fulfillment for the Degree of Master of Arts in the University of Nairobi