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Differential urbanisation trends in South Africa—regional and local equivalents


  • Hermanus S Geyer Jr
  • Hermanus S Geyer
  • Danie J du Plessis
  • Amanda van Eeden


The paper analyses trends in the location of commercial, industrial, and different residential land uses in the four largest metropolitan cities of South Africa over the past decade. Recent development patterns show strong decentralisation trends of away from core cities to the metropolitan fringes despite proactive containment policies. Elements of the differential urbanisation model are used to explain heterogeneous migration patterns within a rapidly urbanising South African population. Indications are that strong centrifugal patterns in the cities are linked to both local decentralisation and deflected urbanisation at the regional level. This results in continuing social stratification in all four agglomerations and the continuation of the ‘post-apartheid city.’ The persistent movement of populations and commercial and industrial land uses to the urban fringe has resulted in the strengthening of the multicentric urban framework of the four metropolitan cities. Keywords: differential urbanisation, polarisation reversal, agglomeration, migration, decentralisation, apartheid city

Suggested Citation

  • Hermanus S Geyer Jr & Hermanus S Geyer & Danie J du Plessis & Amanda van Eeden, 2012. "Differential urbanisation trends in South Africa—regional and local equivalents," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 44(12), pages 2940-2956, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:44:y:2012:i:12:p:2940-2956

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