Regional dynamics

Pretorius, M (2013), Logistics Cities in Peripheral Areas, PhD thesis, Centre for Development Support, University of the Free State.


Background and problem statement 

Trade competition between regions and countries has increased significantly in recent years. This increase is mainly due to increasing levels of globalisation, the rapid development of transport technology and the enlargement, worldwide, of markets (Capineri and Leinbach, 2006; Leinbach and Bowen, 2005). International trade liberalisation and the composition of global production chains have changed the geographical location of supply and distribution facilities, which, in turn, facilitate the development of technologies that accompany the globalisation of logistics (Du and Bergqvist, 2010). As a result, the favourable location of a region in terms of the connectivity of one economy to another in respect of sourcing and distribution has been seen to play an important role in determining a particular region’s ability to participate in emergent globalisation opportunities (Sengpiehl, 2010). Thus, the logistical setup and the associated global connectivity of any region and of its related industries, requires a significant review of the way in which many regions especially peripheral regions interface with world markets.

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Conradie, B, Piesse, J and Thirtle, C (2009), What is the appropriate level of aggregation for productivity indices? Comparing district, regional and national measures, Agrekon, Vol 48, No 1, March.



This paper examines the appropriate level of aggregation for the construction of total factor productivity (TFP) indices. The dataset covers the magisterial districts and statistical regions of the Western Cape for the years 1952 to 2002. Over these five decades agricultural production in the Western Cape grew twice as fast as in the country as a whole but this average masks substantial regional variation. Results show that TFP growth was negative in the Karoo, moderate in the Swartland, Overberg and Southern Cape, and generally above 2% per year in the Boland and Breede River Valleys, where there is extensive irrigation.


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Prof LJS Botes, Prof LM Marais (2008), “Growth and development strategies in South Africa: Towards incentives for subregional economic growth, African Development Perspectives Yearbook Volume 13, Institute for World Economic and International Management, University of Bremen.


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Nel, E, Hill, T, Taylor, B and Atkinson, D (2011), “Demographic and Economic Changes in Small Towns in South Africa’s Karoo: Looking from the Inside Out”, Urban Forum 22:395–410.


This article seeks to situate the experience of demographic and economic change in South African small towns within a broader context. Drawing on international literature detailing demographic, economic and racial changes within small towns, the paper relates these trends to the Karoo region in South Africa. The research findings reveal that small towns in the Karoo are experiencing selective demographic and economic growth, which particularly favours the larger small towns. There is clear racial differentiation in the growth which is taking place and, contrary to predictions made in the 1970s, small towns in South Africa are not all experiencing absolute decline.

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Nel, E, Hill, T, Taylor, B and Atkinson, D (2007), Rural and Urban Dynamics in the Eastern Cape Karoo A preliminary investigation over 100 years.



Arid and semi-arid areas are often considered environmentally and economically marginal which has been exacerbated by economic realities, shifts in agricultural production and land use, policy implementation and general perceptions of the regions. This paper explores these themes with reference to a semi-arid landscape collectively referred to as the Karoo region, covering approximately 20% of the geographic space of South Africa and used primarily for extensive livestock farming. Despite a long-term decline economic declines, particularly in terms of agricultural output which reached a head in the 1970s, the demographics of the region, and that of the largest service centres in the area in particular are growing. While there are very real socio-economic needs and development backlogs, the situation has been exacerbated by the reality that the area has been politically marginalized. The small towns of the area are focal points of investigation and provide a lens into the economic dynamics of the area in the sense that most of the region’s population live in these centres which are the key service, collection and distribution centres for what traditionally has been an agriculturally based regional economy. By the 1970s structural decline had set in and while recent trends suggest a selective and partial reversal of fortunes, in many rural districts and small towns, little seems to have improved since then. The Karoo spans the boundaries of four provinces, which have no defined response to dealing with the Karoo and its challenges. In addition, national governments see urbanization to the larger cities as inevitable, and have no complementary rural / small town development strategy which makes areas such as the Karoo underprovided for in terms of urban services. This paper provides background details regarding the Karoo, associated economic and demographic changes and policy neglect to explore the concept of marginalisation within the region.


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Nel, E and Hill, T (2008), “Marginalisation and demographic change in the Karoo, South Africa”, Journal of Arid Environments, vol. 72, 2008, pp. 2264-2274.



Semi-arid areas are often considered to be environmentally and economically marginal, a situation which has been exacerbated by economic change, shifts in agricultural production and land use, and changing state policy. These themes are explored with reference to a semi-arid landscape, namely the Karoo, which covers some 40% of the geographic space of South Africa and is used primarily for extensive livestock farming. Despite long-term decline in agricultural output, the traditional mainstay of the region, and weakening small town economies, the Karoo’s population and the economies of its largest service centres are growing. There are, real socio-economic needs and development backlogs, and the situation has been exacerbated by recent political marginalisation. In this study, the small towns of the region are focal points of investigation and provide a lens to investigate the changing demographic and economic dynamics of the Karoo. Most of the region’s population lives in these centres which are service, collection, and distribution points for what traditionally has been an agriculture-based regional economy. This paper explores the concept of marginalisation with specific reference to historical, economic, and demographic change.


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Ingle, M (2013), Counterurbanisation and the emergence of a postproductivist economy in South Africa’s arid Karoo region, 1994-2010.



This review article serves to broach the concept of the “post-productivist countryside” where the primacy of agricultural production is supplanted by tertiary industries such as tourism, recreational farming, and arts and crafts production. The essay maintains that advances in communications technology have facilitated the phenomenon of “counterurbanisation” whereby a new breed of well-qualified, highly mobile professionals (a “creative class”) opt for rural living, all the while continuing to derive urban-denominated incomes. In recent years South Africa’s arid Karoo hinterland has enjoyed something of a renaissance occasioned by an influx of human capital from the cities. Although the onset of post-productivism inevitably entails costs it is argued that these are more than compensated for by the beneficial cultural and economic impacts of the new rural creative class in the Karoo.


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Ingle, M (2009), A ‘Creative Class’ in South Africa’s Arid Karoo Region, Urban Forum, 21(4).



There is an increasing number and variety of creative small enterprises in South Africa’s desert Karoo region. The Karoo has come to acquire considerable cachet in recent years and is being rebranded as a desirable tourist destination. It has also attracted many well-qualified and experienced migrants from urban areas. This paper draws on mainstream ‘lifestyle media’ coverage to describe this phenomenon and examines it through a lens informed by Richard Florida’s influential work, The Rise of the Creative Class. The concept of the ‘creative class’ refers to those people who make a living from creative pursuits, including artists, designers and knowledge-based professionals. The paper analyses a sample of entrepreneurs in-migrants to the Karoo, and speculates on what informs the recent re-visioning of the region. It posits the new rural ‘creative class’ as a form of social capital and explores some of the implications of this for the socio-economic upliftment of the Karoo.

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Ingle, M (2006), “What Price Developmental Land-use in South Africa?: paying lip service to law”, Journal of Public Administration 41(4):750-760.


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Atkinson, D (2011), “Crossing boundaries: The role of universities in unlocking regional development”, Inaugural lecture, University of the Free State.


This presentation is about making connections and crossing boundaries.

When I read EM Forster’s books at the age of 19, his philosophy of Only Connect made an enormous impression on me. In 1924, EM Forster wrote his landmark novel, A Passage to India. This is a fascinating contrast between the mindsets of Christians, Muslims and Hindus, in a multi-cultural and unstable social setting. For Forster, the social attitudes of the Christians and Muslims remain limited and constrained by their faiths. Social boundaries remained difficult to cross.


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