Stages of urbanization

Authors: Joris Tieleman*, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Topics: Urban Geography, Africa, Geographic Theory
Keywords: nature of the urban, urbanization, peri-urban, city formation
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Galerie 5, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

How does new urban tissue grow around the existing city? The urban fabric consists of many components, apart from housing and commercial buildings: physical networks such as roads, water and electricity lines, drainage systems, social networks such as political organizations, schools and churches, and institutions like local government, police and fire stations and trash collection. When an outlying area slowly urbanizes, becomes part of the urban fabric, these institutions emerge in that locality. In most African countries, such basic infrastructure is built and expanded without much central planning, evolving organically, often coming to areas long after settlement and densification have begun. But in what order do these various components emerge, through what interlocking logic?

Through a spatial regression analysis we use several indicators from the 2010 census and other sources to group localities in Accra into various stages of urbanization. We then identify the level of development of several types of physical and social networks and institutions associated with every stage of urbanization, thus mapping out the sequential nature of urbanization processes, and the way the development of various components of the urban fabric is interrelated.

Such quantitative work can form an important addition to existing work on the emergence of civil society organization, neighborhood development and the growth process of public amenities in a decentralized and organically evolving urban environment. The work can also enable comparative urban studies, and furthermore provide insight to policy makers and development workers to enable the setting of priorities in their urban development policies.

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