DEMOGRAPHY & URBANIZATION
FUNCTIONAL CLASSIFICATION OF
DEPARTMENT OF URBAN & REGIONAL PLANNING
School Of Planning & Architecture
Mrs. TUHINA SINHA
•Cities may be classified on the basis of the types of economic activity carried on within
the city. Certain economic activities have acquired greater significance than others.
•The presence of an iron and steel industry and textile industry lends a certain name
and character to the city. Some cities are known for their administrative status as state
or district capitals.
•The range of economic activities in a city covers the entire spectrum of primary,
secondary and tertiary activities.
•In the Indian context, primary activities are very much apart of the urban scene, as
nearly a third of India’s urban places have agriculture as relatively the most dominant
•The classification of cities based on the relative importance of primary, secondary and
•Cities show a remarkable degree of specialization in one or more specific activities,
such as trade, transport, house hold industry, modern industry, public administration
and so on.
According to the 1961 &1971 censuses, all towns and cities are provided for 9
industrial categories of workers.
• The categories are:
4.House hold industry
5.Manufacturing other than house hold industry
7.Trade and commerce
8.Transport, storage and communication
This classification of workers closely corresponds to the Standard Industrial Classification of
workers at the first digit level.
• Primary and secondary sector related to agriculture, which is not considered as an urban
economic activity. The third sector has a mix of urban and non urban activities.
• Urban areas , however, have a larger proportion of workers in the secondary and tertiary
sectors. It is this aspect that is relevant to the economic classification of India’s urban places.
• The census industrial categories form the basis for a functional classification of
urban places. The term ‘function 'in a fact refers to an economic activity in town,
weather at the primary, secondary or tertiary level.
• The definition of ‘function’ will be used, wherein the primary and secondary sectors
are totally excluded, while only a restricted range of tertiary activities are included.
• For purpose of city classification such a restricted interpretation of the term is not
• In the early 1950s, it was considered appropriate to classify urban places on the
basis of their dominant function. Further, The number of workers is not always the
best measure of the importance's of the an economic activity .
• The functional classification of cities has been replaced by the multiple function
• India’s cities were first classified in terms of functional categories by Amrit Lal using
the 1951 census data.
• The classification, how ever, suffer from a number of methodological deficiencies,
and infact does not even list the one lakh of 67cities according to the functional
groups in to which they have been divided .
• Ashok mitra has attempted a classification of all towns and cities common to the
1961 and 1971 censuses.
• The factor analytical method and various grouping procedures were also adopted
by Qazi Ahmad for classifying the one lakh cities of India in 1961.
• Of the two methods employed by Mitra , the earlier method is more satisfactory
and the second classification employs quantitative procedure of factor and cluster
• Quazi Ahmad used to many variable with no selectivity while Asoka mitra used
too few variables representing only the economic or functional aspect.
•The 219 cities fall into seven
categories, among which cities
specializing in manufacturing, trade or
services are by far the most numerous.
•Asok Mitra classified 2528 towns and
cities in India which were included in
both the 1961 and 1971 Censuses.
•In which 736 were aggregate Towns, of
1729 non-aggregate Towns, 655 were
classified as manufacturing and 708 as
& transport and 429 as service towns.
• All of these were classified on the
basis of their non primary industry
categories of workers.
Function classification of indian cities
Functional Classification by Asok Mitra
A through classification of all urban places in India was attempted by Asok Mitra. He
grouped the seven industrial categories of workers into three broad groups to derive
three major functional types:
A. Manufacturing town: where the percentage of workers in the industrial
categories of 3,4,5&6 put together than the percentage of workers in categories
7&8 put together or percentage of workers in category 9.
B. Trade and transport town: where the percentage of workers in categories 7&8
together is greater than in category 9 or in categories 3,4,5 and 6 put together.
C. Service town: Where the percentage of workers in category 9 is greater than the
total percentage of workers in categories 7&8.
The manufacturing towns and trade and transport towns were further sub classified as
follows: 1.Miningand quarrying, livestock, forestry. fishing or plantation town
The degree of specialization in each of three basic groups was identified on the basis of a
Asok Mitra’s Triangular
Method for Measurement
of Degree of Specialization.
In this method, The number of workers in each of the
three groups is expressed as a percentage of the total.
The values for the three groups are then plotted on a
triangular graph, represented by an equilateral triangle.
Thus each town or city may be plotted as a point within
the equilateral triangle, where the perpendiculars drawn to
each of the three sides of the three groups.
The incenter of the equilateral triangle represents a town
in which the percentage of workers in each of three groups
is exactly 33 ½.
Asok Mitra drew three circles at distance of 6⅔, 11⅔, 12⅔
units from the incenter to differentiate four levels of
He designed degrees of specialization as follows:
Degree of Specialization Code Location in circle
1.Predominant Function PEHA Outside the outer circle (3rd circle).
2.Predominant Function Accentuated PFA Between the 2nd & 3rd circle.
3. Functions Moderately Diversified FMD Between the 1st & 2nd circles.
4.Functions Highly Diversified FHD With in the first circle.
Functional Classification of Indian cities (By Asok Mitra)
City type Code Degrees of Specialization Total no. of cities
FHD FMD PFA PEHA
1. Manufacturing MMT 17 28 9 26 80
2.Artisan MA 2 2 2 2 8
3.Mining MMg - - 1 1 2
4.Plantation Mp - - - 1 1
5.Trading TTg 22 35 18 3 78
6.Transport TTt - 1 3 5 9
7.Services SS 8 15 12 6 41
Total 49 81 45 44 219
Classification of cities:
The one-lakh cities, classified by asok mitra along with the smaller
towns, are easier to examine in terms of the range of specialization &
The 219 cities (1981) fall into even categories, among which cities
specializing in manufacturing, trade or service are by far the most
There are 80 manufacturing cities, 78 trading cities & 41 service cities.
Only 3 trading cities & 6 service cities how such a high level of
The leading manufacturing cities which show clear which show clear
specialization are Ahmadabad, surat, Jamshedpur, Ulhasnagar, Ludhiana,
Manufacturing cities are distributed widely all over the country-from Tamil Nadu in
the south to Bihar & Uttar Pradesh in the north & Maharashtra & Gujarat in the west.
The three cities which have a high degree of specialization in trade are Vijayawada in
Andhra Pradesh, siliguri in west Bengal and katihar in Bihar
The artisan cities are few in number, eight in all. Of thee, Kancheepuram in Tamil
Nadu & sagar in Madhya Pradesh have a high degree of specialization. Other cities in
this category are Varanasi, Bhagalpur, nagarcoil, imphal, sambal gondia.
Transportation I a major specialization of the cities of the cities in the coal mining
area, namely, dhanbad, asansol, nodal.
The railway cities kharagpur & bhusawal also have a high degree of specialization in
Valparaiso in the anamalai hills of Tamil nadu is the only city with a specialization in
the plantation (tea) industry, while kolar gold fields in Karnataka & bermo in Bihar have
specialization in mining activities.
ASHOK MITRA’S classification, on the whole, does bring out the major categories on the basis of
their broad economic activities.
In particular, it succeeds in differentiating the manufacturing, trading and service cities.
The vast majority of India cities, however, have no clear specialization in any one economic
activity and infact have a diversified economic base. Specialization appears, on the whole, as the
expectation rather the rule. Nevertheless, manufacturing cities do appear as a major subtype
among Indian cities, and stand in contrast to the general run of diversified cities.
Specialization in trade, service, mining or transport occurs only in a handful of cities. Though
these are the important deviant or exceptional cases, their numbers are too significant.
The diversified city with the multiple functions including manufacturing, trade and service
constitutes the most common and representative type of city. The Indian urban system is indeed
basically a system of diversified cities.
Any descriptive classification suffers the drawback of not having a sufficient theoretical base
which might enable it a wider application. This was later rectified by the use of statistical
techniques to determine which was really the dominant function so as to help create a proper
scale of reference for classification.
Problems in urban classification arise mainly when the level of measurement of urban
characteristics is raised to the interval scale. Here urban places are differentiated on the basis of
single or multiple criteria or variables.
Towns and cities may be classified on the basis of their site characteristics as sea front, river
front, flat land or hilly cities.
They may be classified on the basis of their social attributes as Hindu cities, Muslim cities,
Ex: Urban places may be classified on the basis of their administrative status as national capital,
state capitals, district head quarters.
The factor analytical method used for classification of India’s urban places by Qazi Ahmed and
Asok Mitra, have generated more doubts and ambiguities.
The utility and meaningfulness of the outcome is the only criterion for judging the value of a
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