Home Glossary A Agrocity



The agrocity is a phenomenon characteristic of the Mediterranean rural-urban system, in which the high productivity of the land together with a property system of large estates determines the appearance of population centers that have traditionally served as a territorial counterweight to the urban development of the coast. The agrocity provides an amicable, convenient, and productive solution to the stormy relationship between the urban area and nature, which contrasts with the will to split that had moved the first suburbs to deny the industrial metropolis and to take to the hills in the form of camouflage.


The origins of the agrocity consist of highly productive land covered with an artificial, hermetic, and more technical skin under which human settlements sprout like a dense fruit. The edges of the agrocity remain static, as the profitability of the crops, which are generally protected from global competition by tariffs and subsidies, still greatly exceeds the property value of the land.

The social structure of the agrocity supports a scenario that is undeniably crude and perverse. Between the late Middle Ages and the early 1990s, the concentration in just a few hands of the property of the land meant that the agrocity was maintained by large numbers of day laborers, the ethnic origin of which has changed radically once the new century has begun. The protagonists of Campos de Níjar would be surprised to find fifty years later such a variety of races among the new settlers of the global agrocity: pariahs of the earth who eke out a living beneath plastic sheeting, cram into ruinous flats, and share sheds with animals. The suburb was the product of the flight from the city; the agrocity is the result of its irresistible pull. One languishes, while the other prospers. One dries up and the other flourishes; both recreate an artificial and unsustainable life cycle.


  • WILLIAMS, Raymond. El campo y la ciudad. Buenos Aires: Editorial Paidós SAICF, 2001 (New York, 1973).
  • LÓPEZ-CASERO OLMEDO, Francisco. La agrociudad mediterránea: Estructuras sociales y procesos de desarrollo. Madrid: Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación, 1989.

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