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The Uneven Geography of the Covid-19 Crisis

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Justin Visagie and Ivan Turok

30 September 2020


Ivan Turok


Human Sciences Research Council

South Africa

This report analyses the impact of the pandemic on different parts of South Africa. It compares the severity of the initial COVID-19 shock (February-April 2020) and the subsequent trajectory (April-June) of the metros, smaller cities/towns and rural areas. It also considers the different impacts within cities – between suburbs, townships, shack areas and peri-urban areas. The report reveals that the pandemic has magnified the existing economic and social divides (i) between cities and rural areas, and (ii) between suburbs and townships/informal set tlements within cities.

This short media article summarises the findings, and this short article draws out some policy implications for townships and informal settlements

For the Policy Brief connected with this work see here.


Website References



Economic conditions


Gap housing

Human settlements

Human settlements

Informal settlements


Poverty & inequality


Rural areas

South Africa


Urban and Regional Dynamics

Urban areas

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