Academic & Law Serials


National Geographer, Vol.XLVIII, No. 1 + 2 (Jan-June, July-Dec. 2013), Pages 59-74

Housing Problem of Varanasi City
(A Case Study of Nagwa, Sunderpur and Bhelupur Ward)

Rahul Harshwardhan and V.K. Tripathi
Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi


The economic reforms of 1991 in India led to the swift changeover from urban planning to market mechanism. Rapid socioeconomic development and urbanization are leading to significant changes in land use in Indian cities. The urban and rural areas are facing the problems of public utilities, facilities and housing. These problems are rising due to the unprecedented urban population increase. This study estimates the rising problems of infrastructure and services of housing among the high, medium and low income group in urban areas of Varanasi.  The population of Varanasi city is 1.43 million according to Census of India 2011. The religious city is facing huge crisis of housing and high population concentration. The older part of the city has very less urban facilities available in comparison to the new parts. The difference in demand of housing and its supply leads to emergence of slums and also the household size and density of housing is high. In Varanasi the condition of housing is very poor due the overburden of population on housing facilities. The major housing shortage is in economically weaker section and low income group. It is the income which determines the housing conditions and facilities available in a household.  This paper tries to highlight the housing problem among different income groups in the city. The aim of this study is to find out the major causes and factors responsible for the housing conditions in different income groups and to find the relation between the income and housing condition.

Key words: Land Use, Urbanization, Housing problems


      Urbanization is an index of transformation from traditional rural economies to modern industrial one. It is a long term process. In India number of urban agglomeration/town has grown from 1827 in 1901 to 5161 in 2001. Number of population residing in urban areas has increased from 2.58crores in 1901 to 36.33crores in 2011. About 31% of the total population resides in urban areas. It is progressive concentration (Davis 1965) of population in urban unit. Quantification of urbanization is very difficult. Kingsley Davis has explained urbanization as process (Davis 1962) of switch from spread out pattern of human settlements to one of concentration in urban centers. It is a finite process a cycle through which a nation pass as they evolve from agrarian to industrial society (Davis and Golden 1954). He has mentioned three stages in the process of urbanization.

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