L’Espace géographique 1/02

Without summaries

Territorial development, between space and power: an argument for bottom-up territorial planning.

The influence of local actors on development policies remains limited, including in so-called participatory approaches. The distribution of power between technical expertise and civil society must be improved to avoid blockages, with drawal into identity groups and utopian ideas of the "global village". The geographer must integrate the political dimension of territories into his thinking and play a key role in the emergence of a new type of democratic process, from local to global. With bottom-up territorial planning, we propose a genuinely endogenous, inter-level dynamic. Setting up a local dynamic is based on three assumptions: local dynamics must be endogenous; the planning approach must be continuous; and this continuous planning must be mostly bottom-up.


Patrick D'AQUINO, Sidi Mohammed SECK, Seydou CAMARA. AGIS designed by the actors: the POAS pilot operation in Senegal (1 tabl., 6 fig.)

Experiments were conducted in the Senegal River valley between 1996 and 2000 to design and test methods likely to ensure the lasting success of decentralisation and local development processes. The actors design their own information systems and the process differs from the usual participatory approaches by the appropriation of complex technical information instead of the acceptance external technical expertise, and by the choice of consultation and learning processes instead of prior analyses and development plans. Technical advice is thus no longer in the foreground of this process of territorial consultation, which is based on adapted maps.


Debate: Local development, territories and bottom-up planning (Benoît Antheaume, Patrick d’Aquino, Roger Brunet, Jean-Paul Deler, Olivier Dollfus, Jean-Paul Ferrier, Gilles Lepesant, Philippe Pelletier, Thérèse Saint-Julien).

The economic capacity of the metropolitan government: Durban, South Africa (3 tabl., 3 fig.)

The 1996 Constitution of South Africa broadened local governments' powers and responsibilities for infrastructure and service delivery and economic development in general. Most importantly, the metropolitan governments intend to influence the dynamism of the local economy. Referring mainly to the case of Durban, this article explores what this ambition implies for local governments, in terms of their capacity to understand the local economy and fund local development policies.


Pierre CAMBERLIN, Nicolas FAUCHEREAU, Intra-seasonal coherence of interannual rainfall variability in South Africa (5 fig.)

Seasonal climate prediction presupposes the identification of coherent seasons. In the Tropics, the seasons are usually determined on the basis of mean monthly rainfall amounts. This approach is inappropriate for interannual studies, a preliminary step before prediction. Rainfall variations may result from changes in the intensity of the rainy season, but also in its length and coherence. For South Africa, a country that experiences strong interannual rainfall variability and that is subject to recurrent droughts, the use of an extended Principal Component Analysis demonstrates that the season showing the most consistent interannual rainfall anomalies extends from December to April. This seasonal coherence is stronger during high and low phases of the Southern Oscillation. This suggests a relationship between forcing scales and predictability.


Notes on the geographical invention of the Mediterranean (3 fig.)

Based on a study of the first three G ographies Universelles, this paper deals with the emergence of the Mediterranean area in scientific research. The notion of a Mediterranean area began to emerge in the early 19th century, especially in the works of K. Malte-Brun. However, it was only in 1876 that E. Reclus adopted a scientific approach to the geohistorical role of the Mediterranean Sea. A radical shift in emphasis, focusing on the hinterland rather than the sea, can be observed during the interwar years among the followers of P. Vidal de La Blache, providing the new paradigm on which F. BraudelÕs thesis was based. This paper will explore the genealogy of the geographical representations of the Mediterranean, with a view to questioning the origins of our scientific discourse on this subject, at once so familiar and so elusive.


Book reviews

In this issue of l’Espace géographique, you will find critical reviews of the following books

CHAPELON Laurent, coord. (2000). Transports et énergie. Vol. 11 de L’Atlas de France, dirigé par Thérèse Saint-Julien. Paris/Montpellier: La Documentation française/RECLUS, 142 p., 182 cartes et graphiques.

DAUPHINÉ André (1999). L’Italie. Paris: Nathan Université, coll. «Fac-Géographie», 286 p.

DEYON Pierre, FRÉMONT Armand (2000). La France et L’aménagement de son territoire (1945-2015). Paris: Dexia, Éditions locales de France.

NONN Henri (2001). L’Aménagement du territoire en Europe Occidentale. Paris: Ellipses.

PITTELOUD A. et DUBOUX Ch. dir. (2001). Lausanne, un lieu, un bourg, une ville. Lausanne: Presses polytechniques et universitaires romandes, 142 p.

RADVANYI Jean (2000). La Nouvelle Russie. Paris: Armand Colin, 418 p.

SCOTT Allen J. (2001). Global City-Regions. Trends, Theory, Policy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

SÖDERSTRÖM O. (2001). Des images pour agir. Le visuel en urbanisme. Lausanne: Payot, 140 p.

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Last modified: February 19, 2002