Built Morphology and the Impact of Planning Policies: Case of Small Towns in Karnataka, India


  • Aparna Shastri Professor and Dean (Examination and Evaluation) at the Dayananda Sagar College of Architecture, Bengaluru, India




Built morphology, master plan, urban compactness, sustainable urban form,


The morphology of a city undergoes transformation over time due to a variety of factors. One such factor is the master plan. The master plan is a powerful legal tool, the implementation of which has a lasting impact on the morphology of a town both built and unbuilt. The template for the master plans in India is the same be it a metropolitan city or a class III town. The resultant triggers and impact of this master plan are questionable more so in the case of smaller cities and towns. This paper investigates one such small city in the hinterland of Karnataka through a descriptive analysis of the compact historic city and the new developments; the impact of the master plan and the resulting changes. Through the analysis and arguments presented in the study for the reading of small towns and non-metropolitan cities, we support alternative readings of these towns and cities. Additionally through the analysis of compact city planning methodologies both historical and current, we understand how the two aspects; that is small-town urbanization and compact planning methodologies can be enmeshed to create new templates for master planning for small towns and cities. Our study is limited to the master planning exercise in the context of Karnataka and Gadag-Betageri in particular and needs to be further explored with respect to other urban development policies in order to be applicable to small towns and cities in general in India.


Appadurai, A. (2002). Deep Democracy: Urban Governmentality and the Horizon of Politics. Public Culture, 14(1), 21-47. https://doi.org/10.1215/08992363-14-1-21

Bacon, E. (1967). Design of cities, 3rd ed, New York: Penguin books.

Bibri, S. E., Krogstie, J., & Kärrholm, M. (2020). Compact city planning and development:Emerging practices and strategies for achieving the goals of sustainability, Developments in the Built Environment, 4(June), 100021. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dibe.2020.100021

Brenner, N., & Schmid, C. (2015). Towards a new epistemology of the urban?. City, 19(2-3), 151-182. https://doi.org/10.1080/13604813.2015.1014712

Comprehensive Development Plan: Gadag-Betageri 2021, Department of Town and Country Planning, Gadag, 2010, Retreived: Dec 10, 2019

Denis E, Mukhopadhyay,P., & Zérah, M. (2012). Subaltern urbanisation in India, Economic & Political Weekly; XLVII(30), pp.52-62. halshs-00743051

Jacobs J. (1961). The death and life of great American cities. New York:Random House.

Jacobs J. (1969). The economy of cities. New York:Random House.

Jenks, M., Burton, E., Williams, K., Jenks, M., & Burton, E., (1996). The Compact City : A Sustainable Urban Form ? In Williams, K., & Hillman, M. (Eds.), Favour of the Compact City; Routledge.

Joshi, K. S. (2005). The forts of Gadag district, In Gopal, R. (Ed), The history and archeology of Gadag district, Department of Archeaology and Museums, Mysore.

Kostof, S. (1991). The city shaped; urban patterns and meanings through history. London, UK, Thomas and Hudson; p- 43.

Lefebvre, Henri. (1974). The production of space, (Nicholson-smith, D., Trans.), Cambridge, MA, Basil Blackwell; 1991.

Lynch, K. (1981). Good city form, Cambridge, Masachusatts Institue of Technology, MIT Press.

Matsumoto, T. (2012). Compact city policies: a comparative assessment, The World Bank Seminar, 18. https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264167865-en

Shirazi, M., & Falahat, S (2012). Compact urban form, question or solution? Examining the compact city in the Middle Eastern context: challenges and opportunities, International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development, 4:2, 246-259, DOI: 10.1080/19463138.2012.694817

Mukhopadhyay, P., Zérah, M., & Denis, E. (2020). Subaltern Urbanization: Indian Insights for Urban Theory. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-2427.12917, Accessed: Jan 5, 2021

Munshi, I. (2000). Patrick Geddes: Sociologist, environmentalist and town planner. Economic and political weekly, 35(6) 485-491.

Roy, A. (2005). Urban informality: toward an epistemology of planning. Journal of the american planning association, 71(2), 147-158.

Shastri, A., & Subrahmanian, R. R. (2021). Historic Cities in Karnataka: Policies for Conservation, Growth and Sustenance, the Case of Badami and Kampli. In Nabil M. et al. (Eds.) Cities’ Vocabularies: The Influences and Formations (pp. 311-324). Springer, Cham.https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-51961-2_24

Soja, W.E. (2010) Seeking spatial justice, Minneapolis, Min, University of Minnesota Press.




How to Cite

Shastri, A. (2021). Built Morphology and the Impact of Planning Policies: Case of Small Towns in Karnataka, India. International Journal of Environmental Science & Sustainable Development, 6(1), 01–13. https://doi.org/10.21625/essd.v6i1.787