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Some of the urban geography of Freetown, Sierra Leone

McKay, J. (1967) Some of the urban geography of Freetown, Sierra Leone. Masters thesis, Durham University.



During the past few years a wide variety of new techniques and concepts have been developed for the study of the commercial structure of the city, the central business district receiving particular attention. But so far the vast majority of this work has been concerned with the forms of urban commerce found in Western Europe and North America. The aim of this thesis was to apply some of these techniques to a tropical city, Freetown, Sierra Leone, to see if the rather different forms of commerce encountered there could still be studied in this way. It was found that the method of central business district developed by Murphy and Dance could not be applied, and a more suitable alternative method was presented. Freetown's commerce contains an important group of European entrepreneurs, but the addition of Lebanese, Indian and African retailers gives the trade of the city a rather unique character. The importance of each of these trading groups was analyzed and it was found that each had a special position in the overall spatial structure of trade and each served a particular income group within the city’s population. Although special reference was made to the central business district, by far the most important element in the trade of the city, Freetown's overall commercial structure was analyzed, and the roles of the various ethnic groups again noted. As might be expected, the commerce of Freetown showed many signs of immaturity, directly related to Sierra Leone's underdeveloped economy. The probable impact on Freetown's future growth of the Government's economic development policy was considered. Freetown's history of growth is a very special one, and an attempt was made to view the nature of the city as it fits into the wider regional context, by comparing it with a number of other West African cities.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1967
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:33

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