TROPICAL GEOGRAPHY ›› 2015, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (6): 822-832.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.002748

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Dual Structure Model for the Urban Social Space of Africa

SONG Meinaa,YANG Yongchuna,b,SHI Kunboa,WANG Shuxina   

  1. (a. College of Earth and Environmental Science;b. Key Laboratory of Western China’s Environmental Systems,Lanzhou University,Lanzhou 730000,China)
  • Online:2015-11-05 Published:2015-11-05


This article provides an overview of research on evolution of the urban social space in Africa. As the colonial political intervention, the existing political system in Africa has changed and African original culture has had faults, the economy is in a position of marginalization in the world economy system. Because of its special political and historical background, there is a unique spatial structure forming in urban space. However, we should also see the fact that there were few studies in characteristics and mode of development of African cities presently. Case studies in changes of the city center and different sectors of residential areas. The purpose is to explore the dual structure model for the urban social space of the Africa in the recent period and contemporary age. Several conclusions are drawn as follows: 1) Among different historical periods, there are significant differences in the structure of the dual social space within cities in Africa. Differences exist mainly in the changes of the city center and sectors of residential areas. 2) With the end of the process of European colonization, African countries had a huge change in urban social space. In the perspective of changes of the city center and different sectors of residential areas, the dual structure of urban space achieves a transition to the new. The old dual structure mainly refers to the colonial city which was newly constructed and the native city. And the new dual structure presents in the inner city. 3) The urban social space of the Africa showed a typical pattern of Twin cities in the recent period. The living space for colonists and the native was strictly separated. The former lived in the city which was constructed newly and the latter usually lived in the old city or the surrounding industrial area. In contemporary age, African cities show the coexistence of old and new centers. There was significant difference in living space for the wealthy and the poor. With the deterioration of the environment in the city center, the rich gradually move to outside the center and establish a new city center, forming a two-center structure model. 4) Political, economic, demographic and social factors were important driving forces of urban dual social spatial structure formation. Political factors mainly refer the powerful colonial system in the recent period and liberal market system in contemporary age. Economic factors include lack of foreign investment and jobs shorting desperately. Africa’s urban population was growing rapidly and the cities behave “explosive” growth. With the succession of independent of African countries, the urban social stratification is accelerated. The rural migrants become the main constituents of the lower class. Based on the above, some of the recommendations are made in order to promote the sustainable development of African urban social space.

Key words: urban social space, dual structure, dynamic mechanism, Africa