In this article, You will read Satellite Towns – for UPSC (Settlement Geography – Geography Optional).

Satellite Towns

  • Urbanisation is the direct product of industrialisation. Industrial revolution in Europe and America witnessed resurrected urban growth with huge in migration as labour employment. The human flood in the city resulted in plethora of urban miseries.
  • The megalopolis/metropolis and the major industrial cities felt the need of urban decongestion and along the major transportation line suburban, unplanned haphazard growth was the consequence of flurry of outpouring of economic activities and the residential functions of the city.
  • In this context, A Howard proposed the concept of Garden City, which was to be located away from the city limit with residential colonies and institutional, educational, services, and entertainment areas. It was the philanthropic idea to settle the industrial workers away from the polluted and congested cities. It was a utopian concept based on socialist ideology to improve the physical quality of life of wage earners.
  • After the First World War, Garden Cities were termed as Satellite Towns because the huge industrial demand led to the development of manufacturing units in the Garden cities also. They were also called Dormitory Towns because they also served for the residential purposes.
  • Satellite Town is defined as the urban centre which is functionally integrated with mega city and is located on the major transportation line connecting the city and it serves as the secondary settlement to the city.
  • However, Satellite Towns have grown into mature towns with their own municipalities, well defined functions, own CBDs (Central Business District) and a centre of in migration.
  • Eventually the Satellite Town become a part of urban agglomeration and later into the town cities.
  • Nowadays, satellite towns are an important part of settlement planning as the satellite town helps to ease the overcrowded burden of the metro city and absorb the economic pressure.
  • Satellite towns may be new or old which is separated from the metro city by some physical barriers such as a hill, river, etc. It is completely or partially free from the dependence from metros city but functionally dependent on the metro city.
Satellite Towns

Purpose of Satellite Towns

  • Residential area for city wage earners to help in decongestion of city.
  • Manufacturing units which are more labour intensive and polluting are shifted to the Satellite Town.
  • It has its own administrative and municipality areas.
  • It is part of daily urban system, because of functional integration with the main city.
  • It develops institutional area due to low cost of land.
  • It consists of its own Central Business District (CBD) or the commercial hub and gradually began to specialise in its own function.
  • It develops bus station, railway station and other commutation facilities.
  • Examples of Satellite Town:
    • The satellite city of Mumbai is the Navi-Mumbai and Pune.
    • Kolkata- Kalyanpur
    • Delhi- Faridabad, Noida
      • Delhi has many satellite cities such as Meruth, Noida, Gurgaon, and  Ghaziabad. 
    • Hyderabad- Secunderabad (has now become twin city).
    • In the USA, nearly 50 % of the urban population stays in satellite cities, the satellite city of New York city is Allentown.
Satellite Towns upsc

Problems of satellite towns

  • All the problems related to urban areas are included in this such as:
    • Crime
    • Vandalism
    • Slums and squatter settlements etc.
  • Lack of basic support such as road, good health & education system.
  • Lack of economic activities & employment generation.
  • Poor connectivity to the metro city.

Factors for growth of Satellite Town

Presently after Second World War, 6 major factors are considered as the basis of emergence of Satellite Town.

  • Rapid population growth of the mother city:
    • This is the problem of developing countries. E.g. Delhi which has yearly growth of 4 lakhs similar to Mumbai. According to World Disaster Report, the phenomenal growth of Mumbai and Delhi is like a disaster.
    • Ecologists call it unprecedented and unsustainable growth of the colonial cities.
    • Mother city planners intend to develop the Satellite Towns to accommodate the increasing population. Around Delhi, Ghaziabad, Faridabad has emerged as the Satellite Towns for industrial functions, but its major factor was the population explosion of Delhi.
    • E.g. Kawasaki as industrial town of Tokyo.
  • Functional specialization:
    • It is the tendency in both developed and developing countries
    • Old towns have mixed functions. Now there is tendency to develop a Satellite Town for a particular function. E.g. dormitory towns in Europe.
  • Development of transport:
    • Whenever some major transport line emerges at some distance from the main town, then the transport stations become a centre of satellite town.
    • The particular transport centre becomes a provider of transportation facilities to the main city.
    • E.g. Jasidih as satellite town of Deogarh, Khurda road as satellite town of Puri.
  • Environmental factors:
    • It is more important factor in developed countries.
    • Old towns are polluted and congested which leads to the development of satellite towns for residential purpose.
    • It also shifts more polluting functions to satellite towns. E.g. New London near Boston, Sparrow point near Baltimore, where steel plant has been shifted from Baltimore.
  • Implementation of urban planning principles:
    • Now a day urban planning is being regionally planned. Before the Second World War, urban planning was simply to make a master plan for the town. Townships were planned in isolation without considering the regional factors.
    • But now regional planning is emphasised under which satellite towns are developed.
    • E.g. NCR Planning under which 7 satellite towns are developed so that pressure on Delhi is not further increased.
  • Nearby villages developing into satellite towns:
    • It is prevalent in developing countries mainly due to diffusion of urban elements.
    • Village people near the city develop interaction with them. Their economy is dependent on city. Everyday earning has bearing on the standard of living of the people of the village. Gradually the morphology of village is changed. Even urban people began to settle in these villages. Gradually structure emerges.
    • E.g. Bahadurgarh and Ballabhgarh near Delhi, Sarnath near Varanasi.

Types of satellite towns

  • Satellite towns can be classified into 6 types
    • Dormitory satellite town: During the day time they have deserted look. Male working population is absent. During the evening with return of commuters, the township gets a new life. Roads are busy in morning to evening. E.g. Loni in Delhi, New Ghaziabad, Patliputra colony in Patna.
    • Industrial satellite town: It is developed to provide industrial functions. There may be other functions but industry is the basis of origin of towns and industry is its basic function. E.g. Faridabad, Ghaziabad
    • Administrative satellite towns: They have recently emerged due to rapid growth of old administrative towns as administrative towns are getting more developed. E.g. Gandhinagar is the satellite town of Ahmadabad; Dispur is the satellite town of Guwahati.
    • Transport satellite town: Waltare is the satellite town of Vizag, emerged due to railway station for surrounding city.
    • Educational satellite town: These towns are developed due to establishment of educational institutes. E.g. Cambridge is the satellite town of London, Shantiniketan is the satellite town of Bolanpur, BHU is the satellite town of Varanasi, etc.
    • Mixed satellite town: In this type of satellite town generally the village has turned into a satellite town having mixed functions. E.g. South Hill of London, Phulwarisharif of Patna, Bahadurgarh of Delhi.
  • Recently there has been a tendency of urban sprawl and this tendency has been basically due to two factors:
    • Spread of farmhouse tendency (cottage houses in Europe): here it is seen that people in urban areas have the tendency to remain in the city at day time and they prefer open space to take rest at night. This provides a continuum to main city with satellite towns.
    • Environmental consciousness.
  • Due to above factors mother city satellite town continuum is emerging.
European Model satellite town
  • In India the growth of satellite town is continuous along the transportation line, which is due to:
    • Social factors: People tend to remain near to their urban relatives and friends, which leads to the development of satellite town in close proximity to the city.
    • Transport: Indian workers don’t own fast moving vehicles, therefore depend on public transport system tend to settle near city.
  • In both the cases there is impact of diffusion of urban elements.
Indian Model satellite town


  • The philanthropic and utopian idea related to Garden City has lost way after the First World War and majority of them are facing similar urban problems.
  • Urbanisation is the dynamic process of change and the satellite towns are becoming twin cities and finally urban agglomeration and then comes the need of another satellite town.
  • But such futuristic growth of satellite towns must be planned and the old rhetoric of Garden Cities shall be implied.
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the article which u have given is a nice one-stop solution for hidden topics of syllabus’

Debi prasad mohapatra

Excellent content.. I have never been fascinated by any online content pertaining to geography…