The peri-urban interface - the dynamic meeting of rural and urban activities - is influencing the lives of increasing numbers of people around the world. As livelihood activities change from predominantly rural to predominantly urban, opportunities arise to help people - particularly the poorest people and women - manage this transition and successfully exploit new opportunities. This brief describes the key findings from a synthesis study of 10 years of research undertaken to explore changes in natural resource based production, and how these are linked with livelihoods and poverty, at the peri-urban interface. The synthesis found that while some people are able to take advantage of new income-generating opportunities, others are made poorer by the rural to urban transition. Poor people, especially women, are less able to take advantage of new opportunities; but interventions that support the poor, for example by increasing their access to capital, skills and information, can help them. Although the land available for natural resource based activities declines with the rural-urban change, these activities remain important, particularly to the poorest people. Continued support for good natural resource management is therefore critical. Farming and trading, often in agricultural produce, have crucial roles in peri-urban situations, providing income and allowing new risk taking ventures. These activities can also be usefully supported. Some aspects of peri-urban livelihoods are significantly different from those of either a rural or an urban economy. As increasing numbers of people are affected worldwide, governments, non-government organisations (NGOs) and other stakeholders need to be aware of the characteristics of the peri-urban interface if they are to intervene effectively to help the rural poor make the transition to the urban economy.
Mattingly, M.; Gregory, P. The peri-urban interface: intervening to improve livelihoods. (2006) 6 pp.