The South African urban system

SOURCE: International and transnational perspectives on urban systems
OUTPUT TYPE: Chapter in Monograph
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2018
TITLE AUTHOR(S): S.Baffi, I.Turok, C.Vacchiani-Marcuzzo
SOURCE EDITOR(S): C.Rozenblat, D.Pumain, E.Velasquez
KEYWORDS: SOCIAL EXCLUSION, SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, URBANISATION
DEPARTMENT: Economic Perfomance and Development (EPD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 10555

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Abstract

South Africa is often considered an unusual and extreme case in geography. One difficulty is whether to label this a developing country (like its neighbouring countries), a former colony (like the United States and Australia) or an emerging economy (like the BRICS group), because of its highly diverse and unevenly developed character. South Africa also bears a strong imprint of its colonial and apartheid history, with long-lasting, path-dependent effects. This special status alludes to the complex territorial trends that characterise the country. The heterogeneous settlement dynamics and differentiated social, economic and political systems have exerted a powerful influence over urbanisation trends. The chapter explores whether these trends are distinctive compared with other countries and what specific socio-economic challenges are faced in the urban areas.