City of Extremes: The Spatial Politics of Johannesburg (Politics, history, and culture)

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Johannesburg Botanical Garden , located in the suburb of Emmarentia , is a popular recreational park. Johannesburg is a young and sprawling city, with its public transportation built in its infancy, geared towards private motorists, and lacks a convenient public transportation system. The City though has invested a large percentage of its budget toward an effective integrated public transportation system. A significant number of the city's residents are dependent on the city's informal minibus taxis. Lanseria Airport , located to the north-west of the city and closer to the business hub of Sandton , is used for commercial flights to Cape Town , Durban , Port Elizabeth , Botswana, and Sun City.

Rand Airport, located in Germiston , is a small airfield used mostly for private aircraft and the home of South African Airways 's first Boeing Classic , the Lebombo, which is now an aviation museum. Grand Central is located in Midrand and also caters to small, private aircraft. Johannesburg shares a network of metropolitan routes with Krugersdorp and Ekurhuleni. Johannesburg has two kinds of taxis, metered taxis and minibus taxis. Unlike many cities, metered taxis are not allowed to drive around the city looking for passengers and instead must be called and ordered to a destination.

The Gauteng Provincial Government has launched a new metered taxi programme in an attempt to increase use of metered taxis in the city. The minibus "taxis" are the de facto standard and essential form of transport for the majority of the population. Since the s The minibus taxi industry has been severely affected by turf wars.

The Metrorail Gauteng commuter rail system connects central Johannesburg to Soweto , Pretoria , and most of the satellite towns along the Witwatersrand. The railways transport huge numbers of commuters everyday. However, the Metrorail infrastructure was built in Johannesburg's infancy and covers only the older areas in the city's south. The northern areas, including the business districts of Sandton , Midrand , Randburg , and Rosebank , are served by the rapid rail link Gautrain.

It consists of a number of underground stations, as well as above-ground stations. There is also a line from the O. Tambo International Airport above-ground and raised travelling to Sandton via Rhodesfield raised and Marlboro. A kilometer expansion is underway and wil consist of 3 new lines and 18 new stations, this may sound like an insignificant amount however it is expected to cost R18 billion and one line Soweto Mamalodi could take 6 years to build, most of the new stations will be in Johannesburg.

The east-west line from the airport to Sandton opened in June in time for the FIFA World Cup , while the north—south line opened on 2 August , except for Park Station, which opened in The rail system was designed to alleviate traffic on the N1 freeway between Johannesburg and Pretoria, which records vehicle loads of up to , per week day. This is the first new major railway system that has been laid in South Africa since In , a high-speed rail link was proposed between Johannesburg and Durban. Johannesburg is served by a bus fleet operated by Metrobus , a corporate unit of the City of Johannesburg.

It has a fleet consisting of approximately single and double-decker buses, plying 84 different routes in the city. Metrobus' fleet carries approximately 20 million passengers per annum. In addition there are a number of private bus operators, though most focus on the inter-city routes, or on bus charters for touring groups.

The city's main bus terminus is situated in Gandhi Square , where passengers can also obtain information regarding the Metrobus service from the walk-in customer information desk. The buses run on their own dedicated bus lanes on the main trunk and complementary routes. The buses also have a large feeder routes that run on ordinary roads. The routes cover both the southern and northern suburbs with the main trunk route running from Soweto to Sandton and Rosebank, and the feeder and complementary routes covering most of Johannesburg, with the notable exceptions of Midrand and Centurion.

A subsequent expansion phase 1-C;1-D will cover these areas.


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The fact that Johannesburg is not near a large navigable body of water has meant that ground transportation has been the most important method of transporting people and goods in and out of the city. The N3 was built exclusively with asphalt , while the N12 and N1 sections were made with concrete, hence the nickname given to the N1 Western Bypass, "The Concrete Highway".

In spite of being up to 12 lanes wide in some areas, the Johannesburg Ring Road is frequently clogged with traffic. The Gillooly's Interchange, built on an old farm and the point at which the N3 Eastern Bypass and the R24 Airport Freeway intersect, is the busiest interchange in the Southern Hemisphere.

Johannesburg has the most freeways connected to it. The M1 and M2 freeways were built to direct traffic towards the city centre. These two freeways are congested due to mass urbanisation.

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Johannesburg is a cultural hub in South Africa [71] and has a wide variety of cultural venues, making it a prominent area for many creative and cultural industries. Johannesburg is home to the National School of Arts, The University of Witwatersrand's School of the Arts and the South African Ballet Theatre, [71] [72] as well as the Johannesburg Art Gallery [73] and other prominent cultural landmarks, such as the Mary Fitzgerald Square [71] and numerous other museums, theatres, galleries and libraries.

Specialist museums cover subjects such as Africana, costume, design, fossils , geology, military history , medical, pharmacy , photography and transportation networks such as railways. The Market Theatre stages plays, comedy shows, and musical performances. The following is a list of some of the museums and galleries that can be found in Johannesburg. The Civic Theatre complex hosts drama, opera and ballet.

Johannesburg is home to an extensive portfolio of public art. A diverse and evolving city, Johannesburg boasts a vibrant art scene and a variety of works that range from sculptures to murals to pieces by internationally renowned artists like William Kentridge and Gerhard Marx 's Fire Walker. Many pieces are developed through community workshops, such as the Vilakazi Street sculptures. Others are functional, such as street furniture found in Hillbrow and the city centre. As part of the Johannesburg Development Agency's JDA policy to make city areas desirable to potential investors, the organisation has identified public art as a way to improve the urban experience of the city.

Africa's Global City?

After the Group Areas Act was scrapped in , Johannesburg was affected by urban blight. Thousands of poor black people, who had been forbidden to live in the city proper, moved into the city from surrounding black townships like Soweto and many immigrants from economically beleaguered and war torn African nations flooded into South Africa. Many buildings were abandoned by landlords , especially in high-density areas, such as Hillbrow.

Many corporations and institutions, including the stock exchange , moved their headquarters away from the city centre, to suburbs like Sandton.

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Reviving the city centre is one of the main aims of the municipal government of Johannesburg. Drastic measures have been taken to reduce crime in the city. These measures include closed-circuit television on street corners. An example is the once gangster paradise Braamfontein now hosting the best rated coffeehouse in the world and Newtown hosting an interactive science museum. Crime levels in Johannesburg have dropped as the economy has stabilised and begun to grow.

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Murders in the Johannesburg municipality amounted to 1, in according to the South African Medical Research Council, a rate of 43 per Johannesburg's most popular sports by participation are association football, cricket , rugby union , and running. Early each Sunday morning, tens of thousands of runners gather to take part in informal runs organised by several athletic clubs.

Cricket is one of the more popular sports. Wanderers Stadium hosted what many cricket fans consider the greatest ever ODI match in which South Africa successfully chased down runs. The Golden Lions compete in the Currie Cup , which they have won on ten occasions. Mining was the foundation of the Witwatersrand 's economy, but its importance is gradually declining due to dwindling reserves and service and manufacturing industries have become more significant to the city's economy.

While gold mining no longer takes place within the city limits , most mining companies still have their headquarters in Johannesburg. The city's manufacturing industries extend across a range of areas and there is still a reliance on heavy industries including steel and cement plants. The service and other industries include banking, IT, real estate, transport, broadcast and print media, private health care, transport and a vibrant leisure and consumer retail market. Due to its commercial role, the city is the seat of the provincial government and the site of a number of government branch offices, as well as consular offices and other institutions.

The Witwatersrand urban complex is a major consumer of water in a dry region. Its continued economic and population growth has depended on schemes to divert water from other regions of South Africa and from the highlands of Lesotho , the biggest of which is the Lesotho Highlands Water Project , but additional sources will be needed early in the 21st century.

Melrose Arch is one of its most prestigious.

There were also plans to build a large shopping centre, known as the Zonk'Izizwe Shopping Resort, in Midrand , but these have been indefinitely delayed due to the opening of Mall of Africa. Also a complex named Greenstone in Modderfontein has been opened. The city is home to several media groups which own a number of newspaper and magazine titles. The two main print media groups are Independent Newspapers and Naspers Media The country's electronic media is also headquartered in the greater metropolitan region.

Beeld is a leading Afrikaans newspaper for the city and the country, [ citation needed ] while the Sunday newspaper City Press is the third largest selling newspaper in South Africa. The Sowetan is one of a number of titles catering for the black market although in recent years it competes against newly arrived tabloids. The Sunday Times is the most widely read national Sunday newspaper. The Times is a national newspaper that covers current issues. Media ownership is relatively complicated, with a number of cross shareholdings which have been rationalised in recent years, resulting in the movement of some ownership into the hands of black shareholders.

This has been accompanied by a growth in black editorship and journalism. The number of radio stations has increased in recent years as the government has sold off frequencies to private companies. Johannesburg is also the headquarters of state-owned broadcaster South African Broadcasting Corporation and pay-broadcast network Multichoice which distributes M-Net and DStv a digital satellite service, while eTV also has a presence in the city.

The city has two television towers, the Hillbrow Tower and the Sentech Tower. Vodacom's global headquarters is located in Midrand. It was formed in , just after the South African elections of Upon the creation of the Metropolitan Municipality in the city was subdivided into eleven regions, simply named Region 1 to Region These were reorganized in into the current seven regions named alphabetically Region A to Region G, as shown on the map left. As of [update] the seven regions are:.

In the municipal elections, the ruling party, the ANC, lost their majority in Johannesburg for the first time since taking power in , claiming only Johannesburg has a well-developed higher education system of both private and public universities. Johannesburg is served by the public universities University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Johannesburg. University of Johannesburg was formed on 1 January , when three separate universities and campuses— Rand Afrikaans University , Technikon Witwatersrand , and the Johannesburg campuses of Vista University —were merged.

The new university offers education primarily in English and Afrikaans , although courses may be taken in any of South Africa's official languages. The University of the Witwatersrand is one of the leading universities in Africa, [] and is famous as a centre of resistance to apartheid. It is attached to the world's third largest hospital, the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital , located in Soweto. Many private colleges are also situated in Johannesburg, such as Damelin , [] CTI , [] Lyceum College [] and the South African campus [] of Monash University six of the other campuses are in Australia, while the eighth is in Malaysia , as well as the Midrand Graduate Institute [] which is located in Midrand.

Johannesburg also has one of several film schools in the country, one of which has won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Student Film in Johannesburg also has three teacher-training colleges and a technical college. There are numerous kindergartens, primary schools and high schools in the region. Johannesburg has not traditionally been known as a tourist destination, but the city is a transit point for connecting flights to Cape Town , Durban , and the Kruger National Park.

Consequently, most international visitors to South Africa pass through Johannesburg at least once, which has led to the development of several attractions for tourists. Recent additions have centred on history museums, such as the Apartheid Museum with related visits to Constitution Hill and the Hector Pieterson Museum. There is also a large industry around visiting former townships , such as Soweto and Alexandra. Most visitors to Soweto see the Mandela Museum , which is located in the former home of Nelson Mandela.

Visitors can get a feeling for the layout of the city by visiting the Carlton Centre , in the south-eastern area of the CBD, which has an observation deck on the 50th floor. At metres feet , it is the highest office building in Africa and affords sweeping vistas of the city and surrounds. The nearby Museum Africa covers the history of the city of Johannesburg, as well as housing a large collection of rock art.

Also a large draw for tourists is Gold Reef City , a theme park which offers a depiction of mining life at the turn of the nineteenth century, including an underground mine tour; other attractions include a large amusement park and a popular tribal dancing show. On the culture front, the city has several art museums , such as the Johannesburg Art Gallery , which featured South African and European landscape and figurative paintings. The Market Theatre complex attained notoriety in the s and s by staging anti-apartheid plays, and has now become a centre for modern South African playwriting.

The Joburg Theatre is South Africa's foremost "receiving house" of live entertainment—presenting world class theatre, both local and international. The suburbs of Melville , Newtown , Parkhurst , Norwood , Rosebank and Greenside are popular for their bohemian atmosphere, street life, and many restaurants and bars. Shopping is often popular with tourists, as the city offers a range of venues and experiences, from numerous upmarket shopping malls such as Sandton City , Mall of Africa , and Nelson Mandela Square , to various markets and flea markets , such as the Oriental Plaza and the Rosebank Flea Market ; the latter are popular for souvenirs and African art.

See above. The Sterkfontein fossil site is famous for being the world's richest hominid site and produced the first adult Australopithecus africanus and the first near-complete skeleton of an early Australopithecine. Other attractions in this area include the Lesedi Cultural Village , while Magaliesburg and the Hartbeespoort Dam are popular weekend and holiday destinations for Johannesburg residents. The Origins Centre Museum, see below, covers the origins of humankind in Africa , and houses an extensive collection of rock art.

Johannesburg and environs offer various options to visitors wishing to view wildlife. The Johannesburg Zoo is one of the largest in South Africa. The Lion Park nature reserve, next to Lesedi Cultural Village, is home to over 80 lions and various other game, while the Krugersdorp Nature Reserve , a ha game reserve , is a forty-minute drive from the city centre. The De Wildt Cheetah Centre [] in the Magaliesberg runs a successful breeding program for cheetah , wild dog and other endangered species.

Johannesburg is twinned with:. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the city in South Africa. For other uses, see Johannesburg disambiguation. Place in Gauteng, South Africa. Coat of arms. Main articles: History of Johannesburg and Timeline of Johannesburg. Main article: Witwatersrand Gold Rush. Climate data for Johannesburg — Northern Sotho.

No language dominant. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. July Learn how and when to remove this template message. Main article: Suburbs of Johannesburg. Main article: Architecture of Johannesburg. Main article: Johannesburg City Parks. Main article: Johannesburg freeways. Main article: Public art in Johannesburg. See also: Category:Shopping centres in Johannesburg. August Learn how and when to remove this template message.

Main article: City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality. This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. This article contains a list of miscellaneous information. Please relocate any relevant information into other sections or articles. July Collins English Dictionary. Retrieved 17 July Retrieved 9 December Census City Population. Retrieved 17 April United Nations. Gauteng City-Region Observatory. Archived from the original PDF on 11 January Retrieved 1 January Joburg vs Cape Town: Best city challenge Report.

Retrieved 14 May Brinkhoff 23 January Retrieved 2 July Retrieved 25 May Statistics South Africa. Retrieved 27 November Archived from the original on 11 November Retrieved 16 May Retrieved 25 August Official Website of the City of Johannesburg. Archived from the original on 17 April Reid; Paul J. Lane African Historical Archaeologies. Retrieved 7 May Cape Town: Francolin.

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Travelhouse UK. Nasionale Boekhandel Beperk. Mineral Deposits and Earth Evolution. Geological Society of London. New Nineveh and New Babylon. Archived from the original PDF on 17 April Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 19 May Retrieved 3 December Retrieved 24 April Retrieved 8 November City Building and the Production of the Built Environment.

Centrifugal Urbanism and the Convulsive City. Siege Architecture and Anxious Urbanism. The Ordinary City. Introduction Spatial Politics in the Precarious City.



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