In the context of urbanism, the term “dual cities” refers to two very distinct areas: one urban, the other rural. Dual cities are primarily found in South America and Africa, and have historically been paired together due to their proximity.
These areas have been linked by religious tradition, economic opportunity, and government policies that promote both cities as separate entities. For example, a city may be the seat of a large bishop or city hall can serve as a provincial capital for local affairs.
This unique system of cities is known as centralized vs. decentralized government. When considering dual cities, the term “dual city” is used to refer to both centralization and decentralization.
The terms “urban” and “rural” are often used interchangeably when discussing dual cities, which can be confusing. This article will discuss how to use the term “dual cities” in the context of South American urbanism.
History of dual cities in South America
There has been several groups of people in South America that have settled close to each other, but administratively separate. These groups have different languages, customs, religious beliefs, and geographical areas.
These areas have developed their own urban systems with varying degrees of integration and cohesion. Some of these areas have developed distinct urban systems with their own governing bodies and policies.
These systems vary in size and complexity, from the large city-states like Brazil and Argentina that dominate the region, to the more limited city-states like Bolivia or Venezuela that control only a small area.
The term dual cities was first used by researchers in the 1970s to describe these isolated urban systems.
Examples of dual cities in South America
There are several examples of dual cities in South America. They include San Francisco, Barcelona, and Rio de Janeiro. Each of these cities has a central business district (CBD) that is surrounded by a neighborhood or district with its own public services.
The concept came from the recognition that people who live in these cities are already connected via public transportation, so why not make it easier to start a business and get off the ground. By having a CBD surrounded by neighborhoods with their own government, business can be created easier.
As mentioned earlier, mountain cities tend to be hotter and more rugged than coastal ones do to accommodate the need for water, resilient construction materials, and greater demand for water rights.
Dual city models have been used to create competitively priced real estate in these areas which can attract both businesses and residents.
What causes dual cities to form?
There are several reasons why two cities can form next to each other. These cities can be residential, industrial, commercial, or institutional. However, only one of them can be urban.
The two cities may share a natural resource such as water, energy, or food. They also may have people that migrate between the two places each year for cultural reasons.
Due to these reasons, these cities may develop distinct cultures and economies around what they share. This is what causes dual cities to form!
Using the term “dual city” is not the only term that refers to this phenomenon. In fact, there are many words that refer to this type of city formation. These include: split-up city, twin city, and joined up city.
Are there any drawbacks to this urban structure?
While the city limits residents’ access to natural resources, it also offers them unique experiences. People who live in these cities are constantly exposed to nature, and because of this, they maintain a unique feel.
Because these cities are so large, they offer people unique opportunities to participate in community efforts. For example, people who live in the dual cities attend each other’s churches and community events with ease.
This strong community interaction is what makes this type of urbanism special. People enjoy being part of these communities and enjoying the small things that make them special.
Dual cities have been around for a while, but lately they have gained popularity. This is most likely due to media attention on them as innovators in urban design.
What are the advantages of this urban structure?
The term dual cities was coined in the 1980s to describe cities with two or more major highways that merged into one large highway. These cities had a second downtown area, which was typically served by a different highway.
These areas were referred to as suburbanified centers, as they had a second downtown area that was served by the more prominent location of the main city. These areas were often used as trendy neighborhoods or districts, similar to how urban neighborhoods are used for fashion and lifestyle appeal.
These areas were instrumental in transferring population from one area to the other, as they offered fast and easy access to both new residents and businesses. All it took was a simple car ride!
Today, these centers play an important role in transferring populations between suburbs and regions due to their modern amenities and easy commute.
Is this structure sustainable?
While dual cities are not illegal, they are frowned upon due to the lack of sustainable practices involved. Dual cities rely heavily on electricity, water, and infrastructure to function. This includes street addresses, grocery store locations, and other shopping venues.
Despite the oppressive nature of these structures, many people in this region depend on them for their daily lives. For those that cannot live within a city or town limits, these structures provide comfort and stability.
In addition to their reliance on infrastructure and population size for sustainability, dual cities are regarded as poor quality urban landform. It is stated that they are not resilient enough to support large populations without adequate support structures.
Dual cities have been outlawed in many countries due to the inefficient ways they operate.
What can be done to improve the sustainability of dual cities?
As discussed earlier, dual cities are at risk of becoming isolated and self-sufficient pockets of civic life.
In order for cities like São Paulo and Bogotá to remain competitive in a global economy, they must continue to develop their urban core.
This is due to the fact that public funding is scarce and difficult to receive in smaller scale urban centers.
As more people move to urban areas, demand for housing increases. Since there are not enough housing units available, developers purchase land adjacent to existing homes and build new homes. This often happens without the person’s consent as it is legal under government policy.
In this article, we discussed the term dual cities and the ways in which they refer to urban centers in South America. We explained that these cities are diverse and unique, with their own customs and traditions, making them hard to define.
These cities are also growing at an alarming pace, making them even more important to know as we continue our travels. As we explore new places, it is important to have a plan for what city you will visit and how you will accomodate both the urbanism and culture of the city as well as its rural side.
We hope that this article helped break down the term dual cities and its context in Latin American urbanism.