Migration, Geographies of Marginality and Informality-Impacts on Upper and Lower Ends of Urban Systems in the North and South
European Planning Studies
Centre for Regional and Urban Innovation and Statistical Exploration (CRUISE), University of Stellenbosch, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa
Since the onset of post-industrialism, the research focus in the developed world has increasingly shifted to the role of the information and communication technology, knowledge workers and the creative sector in the global economy. It has led to what could be described as an iceberg approach to economic research. In this approach, the focus is primarily on what happens in the part of the global economic iceberg above the waterline-the "clean", "fast-moving", "technologically advanced" elements of the global economy. However another element of the global economy, the informal sector, is growing at an alarming rate in cities in both the developed and developing worlds. These activities are unobtrusively operating in a part of the iceberg below the waterline that receives relatively little attention from the research community. The purposes of this paper are to demonstrate how the information networks created in the iceberg above the waterline are being used by a growing section of the society in the developing world in order to reach first-world destinations. It shows how informality is changing the urban landscape in first-world cities where large concentrations of non-Western populations occur. The paper then shifts its attention to the overwhelmingly informally driven economies of African cities and outlines the inappropriateness of standard economic measures to accurately portray conditions there. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
developing world; global economy; marginalization; migration; urban development; urban geography; urban growth; urban system; Africa