Characteristics of Urban Communities

Characteristics of Urban Communities

The characteristic features of urban communities relate to the economy, social structure, the political system, the cultural life and the spatial organization and their linkage and importance in contributing to the institutional and economic growth of the region and
state in particular and the nation at large.

Social Aspects

Secondary relations dominate such heterogeneous communities. The formal means of social control such as law, legislation, police, and court are needed in addition to the informal means for regulating the behavior of the people. There is mobility and openness.
The social status is achieved than ascribed. Occupations are more specialized. There is widespread division of labour and specialization with plenty of opportunities for pursuing various occupations. Family is said to be unstable. More than the family individual is given
importance. Joint families are comparatively less in number. People are more class -conscious and progressive and supposed to accept changes.

They are also more exposed to the modern developments in the fields of science and technology. Despite these as enduring features of an urban community, we can find
variations in the level and degree of specific features. Thus some communities may be more modern, even while living in the same area. Similarly in major human development indicators there may be variations within urban communities though sharing the same
geographical space.

Caste and Class in Urban India

Caste affiliation, kinship ties continue in urban areas despite the modernizing and secularizing effects of urban living. In terms of the urban social structure it is seen that there is persistence of social relationships resembling those of rural areas. The so-called secular, formal and rational behaviour that is portrayed by the traditional understanding of urban areas does not entirely apply to the Indian situation.

There is evidence of inter-caste/religious /ethnic competition which may turn into conflict situations too. The power structure thus is not only constituted by the hostilities and opposition that are derived from ones’ affiliations, but also those derived on account of one’s class. The pattern of conflict and cooperation thus cut across caste, religion and class lines.

The urban areas show the co-existence of various forms of social relationships and micro societies that represent, urban, rural, semi-urban – traditional and modern. There are also immigrants who live between the urban and rural cultures.

Families in Urban Areas

The three major family types of nuclear, joint and extended families are found in urban areas. Since the majority of urban families have to live in areas that have cheaper accommodation, often their place of work is located at a considerable distance This creates
pressures on the time available for house care, childcare and maintenance of family bonds. Consequently families suffer a lot of strain. The frustrations experienced at the work place and the degradation of environment contributed by both indoor and outdoor air pollution,
takes a heavy toll on the health and mental health aspects of urban families. This is compounded by the rising costs of urban living and privatization of health care.

Economic Aspects

The urban economy is predominated by industrial and service sectors. The secondary and tertiary sectors predominate. The mode of organisation of the economy is to achieve the above results in various groups and classes, with an uneven distribution of social and economic resources. There is great diversity of the labour force with a few in the organized sector, receiving a high salary packages and a larger number in the informal economy receiving marginal and sustenance incomes with lack of social security benefits.

There are two types of sectors – the organized or the formal sector and the unorganized or the informal sector. Organized sector consists of large-scale operations in terms of capital labour wage labour with the use of advanced and modern technology- with institutional arrangements known as public and private sector partnerships. This sector is also closely linked with the global financial and economic systems. With the result any changes in the global economy affect it directly.

The unorganized sector on the other hand consists of smaller scale of operation in terms of capital and labour, private or family ownership, labour intensive, less advanced technology, unregulated markets and unprotected labour(almost no social security benefits-) this is being modified with the social security bill for the protection of unorganized(recently ratified by the Rajya Sabha).

This also is affected by government policy regulation as in the case of protection of industry for capital or for labour. The small-scale industrial policy, the programmes of National Institute for micro, small and medium industries institute are some such examples. 93% of the labour force is employed in unorganized sector.

There is a growing evidence of feminisation of poverty and feminisation of labour force especially in the informal sector. That is more and more women joining the labour force for lower rates of wages as their men folk are unemployed or are unable to seek a place in the formal economy.