By Alexander Follmann (University of Cologne) |
The term peri-urbanization has been widely used to describe a range of different processes that transform rural areas to a mix of rural and urban spaces. It is empirically clear that the urban periphery of the global south hosts the most dynamic processes of urbanization in the contemporary world. It is also conceptually accepted that to better understand these diverse processes of urbanization, scholars must decenter global urban theory and build new vocabularies and theories from the south. Although there is a burgeoning literature on peri-urbanization, the conceptual debate about peri-urbanization’s distinction from urbanization is rarely considered. In this talk, I argue that the universalizing use of the term ‘peri-urbanization’ risks obscuring the existing diversities of rural-to-urban transformations across the Global South and beyond. I outline a critical review of the southern geographies of peri-urbanization identifying three interrelated conceptual vectors (territorial, functional, and transitional) for understanding the peri-urban concept, and sketch recent developments in the field. Then, peri-urbanization is reframed as an umbrella concept, which embraces multiple theoretical concepts.