Nalaka Gunawardene asks good questions. So I paid attention when he tweeted:
Where does urban end & rural begin in #lka? Not silly admin demarcations, but in REAL terms? What decides: Tele-density? Purchasing power?
— Nalaka Gunawardene (@NalakaG) July 5, 2014
Based on the ongoing work using mobile transaction generated data (big data), we can give a good answer about areas that are predominantly residential, ans those that are mixed or predominantly commercial. But this will not mesh with the rural-urban divide. For example, it will show the densely populated Colombo North or Colombo’s inner city to be predominantly residential. It definitely is not rural.
Why does one need to know what is rural? Traditionally, it was because rural areas lacked in services; and needed extra attention. But Sri Lankan rural areas have never fit the pattern. We had post offices distributed across the country, at levels that matched those of Italy. We had rural dispensaries and hospitals.
I can see the value of identifying predominantly residential areas. Could someone answer the question as to why we need to identify rural?
Here is Nalaka’s response:
— Nalaka Gunawardene (@NalakaG) July 6, 2014