The Urban-Village phenomenon represents a spectrum of settlements. Urbanism as a modern and complex society is located at one end of this spectrum, and the village spatial settings with traditional social structure is on the other end. Naturally, a transition process takes place between these two ends. The transition process has combination of urban and rural characteristics known as the “Urban-Village” which encompass three different perspectives. Urban-Village is considered as a solution whenever the urban settlement attempts to escape unruly complexity and chaos, which perceives rural lifestyle as a basis to improve urban life. Moreover, it is seen as an encapsulation process, whenever the city experiences a sprawling growth. The urban growth may lead to encroachment of the villages, their surrounding areas, and farms. In addition, the Urban-Village has been seen as a “transition process” whenever villages are going through a natural development and growth that would finally convert them into small towns. The mentioned “transition process” occurs in large villages, and is supported by variety of deriving forces including development factors.
Each urban-village comprises common characteristics of the urban setting and the village simultaneously. However, each transition process is configured in a different set of circumstances with different results. This study has attempted to review the related literature critically, followed by the examination of the historical background of Urban-Village approaches. Three approaches have been identified by this study: First, the urban-village confrontation, second, the urban-village bilateral tendency, third, the transition from village to urban settlement. The differentiating factors between these approaches, dimensions and indicators are among the aims of this study.
The Urban-Village confrontation phenomena emerged when urbanization process accelerated. This phenomenon is well known in New Delhi, India and Shenzhen in China. Origins of the Urban-Village bilateral tendency concept have been drawn by sociologist Herbert Gans that was widely applied in Great Britain. This was stressed by the Prince of Wales, emphasizing Urban-Village development in order to achieve human scale of life in urban context.
Currently, three aforementioned approaches are referred to alternately in the literature. The Urban-Village bilateral tendency approach considers urban-village as a solution to alleviate particular problems in urban areas. It attempts to evaluate, re-establish, and redesign popular places integral to urban life in the neighborhood. Proximity to the features and services for everyday life in neighborhoods, multiple and mix land use, sense of place and place attachment are among the characteristics of this approach.
The urban-village confrontation approach strives to explain urban sprawls that led to envelop rural settlements into cities. Thus, it examines the challenges of existence for a village in the city. The villages have lost their rural landscape therefore they are neither similar to villages, nor have the urban characteristics. They configure unaccustomed urban-rural scape, different from normal villages and urban landscapes. They characterize a dichotomy between rural and urban planning.
The transition from village to urban settlement is explained through the natural process of rural growth due to increasing population, immigration, and development demands. The displacement of villages in the spatial organization is the result of this transition process.
While urbanization provides the driving force for Urban-village confrontation, the well-being and life quality considerations shape the driving force behind the mutual tendency approach. In the last approach, the driving force is provided through the natural trends of rural growth. The confrontation merely explicates circumstances that will lead to new challenges, but urban-village mutual tendency provides solutions for urban challenges. The third approach is an explanation of urban-village hierarchical evolution, which requires management and planning.