The South African Urban System

  • Solène Baffi
  • Ivan Turok
  • Céline Vacchiani-MarcuzzoEmail author
Part of the Advances in Geographical and Environmental Sciences book series (AGES)


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.


South Africa Urbanisation trends Urban trajectories Social exclusion 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Solène Baffi
    • 1
  • Ivan Turok
    • 2
  • Céline Vacchiani-Marcuzzo
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Geography DepartmentStellenbosch UniversityStellenboschSouth Africa
  2. 2.Human Science Research CouncilCape TownSouth Africa
  3. 3.University Reims Champagne-Ardenne, UMR 8504 Géographie-citésReimsFrance

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