The European Journal of Development Research

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 118–138 | Cite as

Rural Transformation and Changing Rural–Urban Connections in a Dynamic Region in Tanzania: Perspectives on Processes of Inclusive Development

  • Sinne Borby ØrtenbladEmail author
  • Torben Birch-Thomsen
  • Lukelo Roden Msese
Special Issue Article


Changing rural–urban connections are made evident in the patterns and dynamics of rural transformations. This study investigates these transformations by presenting data from a particularly dynamic area: Njombe Region in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania. By taking its empirical point of departure in the development of Njombe Town and its rural hinterland, this paper illustrates how such transformations are manifested in this region and how they influence the livelihoods of rural dwellers, including mobility patterns, livelihood diversification and socio-economic mobility. We argue that, even in dynamic regions with apparently positive levels of development and emerging opportunities, local spatial variations and differences in household characteristics and strategies influence the degree to which people can benefit from the positive aspects of changing and increased links between rural and urban areas. Transformations of rural areas have the potential to increase inequalities and encourage processes of transformation that are not entirely inclusive.


Rural–urban linkages Livelihood diversification Rural transformations Inclusive development Dynamic regions Tanzania 



This research forms part of the ‘African Rural–City Connections’ (RurbanAfrica) research project. RurbanAfrica was funded by the European Union under the 7th Research Framework Programme (theme SSH), Grant Agreement no. 290732. More information can be found at We would like to thank the research participants in the study site.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there are no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Section for Geography, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource ManagementUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagen KDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural Economics and AgribusinessSokoine University of AgricultureMorogoroTanzania

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