In the last few years, academic research and development programmes have underlined the important role of small towns in Sub-Saharan Africa in promoting the growth of the surrounding rural areas. However, identifying the nature of these urban centres and analysing the relevant effects of transformation they are going through are still unsolved issues. This paper aims to explore both aspects in considering as a case study Sena, a small town situated in rural Mozambique. Field research and direct survey results are used to highlight the peculiar characteristics of this rural town together with some negative effects brought about by radical transformation taking place here. Finally, the paper suggests some key topics to be considered within spatial planning in similar contexts.
Keywords: urbanisation, small towns, rural-towns, sustainable urban planning, sub-Saharan Africa, Mozambique, Caia district