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Mondialisation et système de villes :
les entreprises étrangères et l'évolution des agglomérations sud-africaines

Abstract : Born with colonial settlement patterns, the South-African urban system has experienced half a century of Apartheid. Under the effects of globalization, how does this urban system now evolve, compared to more developed urban systems and mature settlement patterns in other contexts? The impact and disruptions of world-wide economical integration in the dynamics of the South-African urban system are addressed, by the means of direct investments and multinational firms settling. Along with various data analysis methods, this study aims at getting a better understanding of South-African cities: whether they follow a model of metropolization (concentration of activities and population in the largest cities) or experience a distributed growth within the lower level of the urban hierarchy (simple diffusion-adaptation), or develop new spatial configurations (specialization).

Within the limits of functional urban agglomerations, implemented for 10 points in time between 1901 and 2001, distributed urban growth patterns (Gibrat process) occur, analogous to those observed in other systems of cities where urban colonization has been observed until the end of the XIXth century. This urbanization process makes South Africa one of the most advanced country in Africa in terms of urban growth (with 307 urban agglomerations in 2001).
Long term economical internationalization of cities is then analyzed through the flows of direct investments (sample of 2751 foreign companies in 2003), in order to raise evidences of spatial reconfigurations, concentration trends, or catching up effects between cities.

Despite of a long insertion of South Africa in international commercial flows, location strategies of foreign firms contribute, like everywhere else, to a strengthening of the metropolitan level of the hierarchy (especially Johannesburg). They do not produce a noticeable urban specialization. At the upper level of the urban hierarchy, a long-term analysis of investors' strategies nevertheless reveals emerging trends of diffusion and catching-up processes, especially in coastal cities and in their peripheries.
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Contributor : Celine Vacchiani-Marcuzzo <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, January 11, 2006 - 3:44:41 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 19, 2021 - 11:08:07 AM
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  • HAL Id : tel-00011351, version 1


Céline Vacchiani-Marcuzzo. Mondialisation et système de villes :
les entreprises étrangères et l'évolution des agglomérations sud-africaines. Géographie. Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I, 2005. Français. ⟨tel-00011351⟩



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