pp 1–22 | Cite as

Identification of network cities in South Africa

  • A. Brand
  • J. E. DrewesEmail author


Settlements, cities and regions function as integrated systems. This resulted in the creation of functional connections and when linked, networks within which trade occurred. This played an important role in the creation of scope economies. This is based on the notion that various networks formed a unique exchange environment from which economic development benefitted. Furthermore, networks evolve and grow when independent cities or regions strive to co-operate and in the process created higher and lower-order settlements which support the outcomes of economic space development and cities as sites of renewed economic dynamism. Networks consist of two important elements: (1) nodes, denoting location and size and (2) links, denoting distance and capacity that display the forces of interaction. These forces of interaction are the underlying principles of the complex relationships that exist between different urban centres (gravitational properties) due to the agglomeration of economic activities. Applying a regional network model, considering gravitational properties provides a solution, whereby a city’s functionality within a network is established. The model provides a framework denoting a city’s rise in performance as either mega, primary, secondary or intermediate which ultimately measures a city’s role and ‘place’ within economic space development. The framework allows cities to realise their ‘place’ of potential allowing them to respond proactively and innovatively to develop and promote economic development.


Networks Economic space development Regional network model Regional and urban systems Agglomeration Economic stages Urbanisation Cities Regions 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.GeographyStatistics South AfricaPretoriaSouth Africa
  2. 2.Urban and Regional PlanningNorth West UniversityPotchefstroomSouth Africa

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