Geographical Review of Japan
Online ISSN : 2185-1719
Print ISSN : 0016-7444
The Types and Definition of “Urbanization”
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1959 Volume 32 Issue 12 Pages 629-642


(1) The writer recognizes four types of urbanization. A) The metropolitan type. This is the type of urbanization which proceeds in the form of the continuous expansion of built-up area in the suburbs of a large city or the increase of comuters coming from the neighbouring rural villages to the city. This type, in either case, is the centrifugal extension of the economic power of the city. B) The regional center type. This is the type which comes in the form of the appearance of a new urban center or the development of the existing town at a nodal point of a region. This type is the centripetal concentration of the regional economic power. C) The industrialization type. This is the type which appears in the form of the birth and growth of a newly industrialized tract in the country. It is realized through the introduction of economic power from some outer region. D) The old-fashioned industry type. This is the type which is achieved in the form of the development of urban industries or old-fashioned local cottage industries in a region. This type is based on the capital brought forth spontaneously from local agricultural production.
These four type are, of course, ideal types, and in actual cases they usually exist in a variety of mixed forms.
(2) These four types are recognized in the corresponding stages of economics development. Of these four, B and D are the types of urbanization which may be achieved even in the time before the industrial revolution or in the pre-modern stage of economy. On the other hand, A and C are the types which are observed only in the time after the industrial revolution or in the stage of economy after the establishment of modern mode of production.
(3) Among all these four types the common element is the transformation of a rural area which has its economical base on the primary industry into an urban area based on the secondary and tertiary industries. This is the substance of the urbanization. As an “area” is formed in the combination of the two elements of land and men, the decision whether an “area” is rural or urban should be made from the viewpoint of both land use and labour form. The condition of such areas which are in the process of urbanization usually shows a sort of circular structure around the city.
metropolis inner-suburbs outer-suburbs hinterlands country
Land use U U+r U+R R R
Labor form U _??_R
The process of urbanization of an area is designated in right-angled coordinates which take the degree of urbanization of land use on the vertical axis and that of labor form on the horizontal axis.
(4) The differentia of ruralness and urbanity in a region, which is designated in terms of “land use and labour form”, is very important as the basis on which the concept of urbanization is clarified. It is also important that the idea of urbanization is originally that which has come into existence after industrial revolution, that is, the modern times. According to this view, only A and C types mentioned above should be included in the urbanization in the proper sense of the word, and B and D types only in a restricted sense. Thus the definition of “urbanization” could be as follows: “urbanization” means the transformation of a rural area into an urban one through the development of modern industries in the area. It must be noted, too, that urbanization is a concept narrower than that of modernization, and wider than that of industrialization.

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