The importance of small towns

13.03.2015

The importance of small towns

A distinguishing feature of the regional policy implementation in Uzbekistan of the last years is a shift in emphasis from the concept of smoothing interregional differentiation to the model of “polarize development.” Automobile plants in Asaka and Samarkand, Shurtan Gas Chemical Complex, a refinery in Bukhara, Free industrial economic zones in (FIEZ) Navoi, Angren, Jizzakh and others became new “points” of accelerated growth in Uzbekistan.

Small towns and urban settlements (with a population of 50 thousand people) make up the bulk of cities of Uzbekistan. At present, they account for 68% of the total number of cities, about 8 million people, or about 25% of the total population, live there. According to the CER estimations, given the current rate of population growth and urbanization, the urban population could reach 21.7 million people by 2025 (65% of the total population), 12.4 million of which will account for the small towns and urban settlements.

In fact, a new approach with a focus on small towns and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises must ensure the formation of such a network of spatial development, when urban settlements and towns will be able to generate more production capacity than in the case of the concentration of economic activity in one or two major metropolitans. In this case, the benefits of economic growth are distributed more evenly.

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