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In the 1986 image (above, left), this area of southern Côte d’Ivoire was mostly covered by savanna and degraded forest, and only a few settlements were present (pink areas). The 2014 image (above, right) shows the expansion of the existing towns but also the emergence of hundreds of small settlements and roads within the degraded forest, creating a dense settlement network. Plantations are also visible in the 2014 image (in bright green). The increase in cultivated land and the need for labor, especially for the labor-intensive farming systems needed to grow coffee and cocoa, was the principal factor driving the dynamics of settlement and migration processes in southern Côte d’Ivoire (Adepoju, 2003). The densification of the urban network and the fast growth of secondary cities into larger urban areas reduced rural migration to the largest urban centers, like Abidjan. The same bottom- up urbanization phenomenon is also visible in Ghana and Nigeria.

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