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This paper investigates the extent to which the differential urbanisation model is applicable to Botswana by using empirical data obtained from periodic censuses, supportive documentary information and observations from personal on-going research on urbanisation and migration. Differential urbanisation refers to the cyclic spatio-temporal growth trends that the elements of human settlement hierarchies undergo, in response to migration. Empirical studies have verified the validity of differential urbanisation in the United States, Europe, India and South Africa. These areas, unlike Botswana, have longer histories of urbanisation, larger population sizes, denser population distributions, and higher levels of economic development. Current research interest is focused on investigating the theoretical applicability of the differential urbanisation model to those countries at the lower end of the economic development spectrum. The rationale and thrust of this paper is to therefore investigate the relevance of differential urbanisation under unique environmental, demographic and socio-economic conditions that pertain to Botswana. Evidence from the paper shows that urbanisation in Botswana has occurred in sequenced phases that, in general, resemble those suggested by the differential urbanisation model in the following ways. First, there has been concentration in the primate city due to mainstream migration. Secondly, there has been fission leading to the fast growth of the adjacent intermediate settlements, partly as a result of deglomeration economies at the primate core accompanied by substream migration. Third, the peripheral regional and rural centres appear to be now growing relatively rapidly, in response to the implementation of decentralisation policies.
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Keywords: Botswana; Differential urbanisation; advanced intermediate phase; empirical testing

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Environmental Science, University of Botswana, PB 0022, Gaborone, Botswana., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 2006-09-01

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