Counterurbanisation and the emergence of a postproductivist economy in South Africa’s arid Karoo region, 1994-2010.03 September 2013
This review article serves to broach the concept of the “post-productivist countryside” where the primacy of agricultural production is supplanted by tertiary industries such as tourism, recreational farming, and arts and crafts production. The essay maintains that advances in communications technology have facilitated the phenomenon of “counterurbanisation” whereby a new breed of well-qualified, highly mobile professionals (a “creative class”) opt for rural living, all the while continuing to derive urban-denominated incomes. In recent years South Africa’s arid Karoo hinterland has enjoyed something of a renaissance occasioned by an influx of human capital from the cities. Although the onset of post-productivism inevitably entails costs it is argued that these are more than compensated for by the beneficial cultural and economic impacts of the new rural creative class in the Karoo.