Johannesburg

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Posted by sonny 02/27/2009 @ 02:38

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Johannesburg

Map of South Africa showing Johannesburg's location

Johannesburg (pronounced /jō-hān'ĭs-bûrg'/) also known as Joburg, is the largest city in South Africa. Johannesburg is the provincial capital of Gauteng, the wealthiest province in South Africa, having the largest economy of any metropolitan region in Sub-Saharan Africa. The city is one of the 40 largest metropolitan areas in the world and it is one of Africa's only two global cities.. While Johannesburg does not form one of South Africa's three capital cities, it does house the Constitutional Court – South Africa's highest court.

Johannesburg is the source of a large-scale gold and diamond trade, due to its location on the mineral-rich Witwatersrand range of hills. Johannesburg is served by O.R. Tambo International Airport, the largest and busiest airport in Africa and a gateway for international air travel to and from the rest of southern Africa.

According to the 2007 Community Survey, the population of the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Area was 7,151,447. The population of the municipal city was 3,888,180. Johannesburg's land area of 1,645 square kilometres (635 sq mi) is very large when compared to other cities, resulting in a population density of 2,364 inhabitants per square kilometre (6,123/sq mi). Johannesburg also encompasses Soweto to the south west, a township that the apartheid government established to accommodate the large number of migrant workers. Johannesburg and Pretoria act as one functional entity, connecting the province of Gauteng together and forming one Megacity of roughly 10 million people.

Gauteng is growing rapidly due to mass urbanisation which is a feature of many developing countries. According to the State of the Cities Report, the urban portion of Gauteng – comprised primarily of the cities of Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni (the East Rand) and Tshwane (greater Pretoria) – will be a polycentric urban region with a projected population of some 14.6 million people by 2015, making it one of the largest cities in the world.

The region surrounding Johannesburg was originally inhabited by San tribes. By the 1200s, groups of Nthu people started moving southwards from central Africa and encroached on the indigenous San population. By the mid 1700s, the broader region was densely settled by various Sotho-Tswana communities, whose villages, towns, chiefdoms and kingdoms stretched from what is now Botswana in the west, to present day Lesotho in the south, to the present day Pedi areas of the northern Transvaal. More specifically, the stone-walled ruins of Sotho-Tswana towns and villages are scattered around the parts of the former Transvaal in which Johannesburg is situated. The Sotho-Tswana practiced farming, raised cattle, sheep and goats, and extensively mined and smelted copper, iron and tin. Moreover, from the early 1960s until his retirement, Professor Revil Mason, of the University of the Witwatersrand, explored and documented many Late Iron Age archeological sites throughout the Johannesburg area, dating from between the 1100s and 1700s, and many of these sites contained the ruins of Sotho-Tswana mines and iron smelting furnaces, suggesting that the area was being exploited for its mineral wealth before the arrival of Europeans or the discovery of gold. The most prominent site within Johannesburg is Melville Koppies, which contains an iron smelting furnace. Many Sotho-Tswana towns and villages in the areas around Johannesburg were destroyed and their people driven away during the wars emanating from Zululand during the late 1700s and early 1800s (the mfecane or difaqane wars), and as a result, an offshoot of the Zulu kingdom, the Matabele, set up a kingdom to the northwest of Johannesburg around modern day Hartebeestpoort and Rustenburg, and historians believe that the Matebele kingdom dominated the Johannesburg area. The Dutch speaking Voortrekkers arrived in the early 1800s, driving away the Matebele with the help of Sotho-Tswana allies, establishing settlements around Rustenburg and Pretoria in the early 1830s, and claiming sovereignty over what would become Johannesburg as part of the South African Republic or Transvaal Republic. Gold was discovered in the 1880s and triggered the gold rush.

Gold was initially discovered some 400 km to the east of present-day Johannesburg, in Barberton. Gold prospectors soon discovered that there were even richer gold reefs in the Witwatersrand. Gold was discovered at Langlaagte, Johannesburg in 1886.

Johannesburg was a dusty settlement some 90 km from the Transvaal Republic capital which was Pretoria. The town was much the same as any small prospecting settlement, but, as word spread, people flocked to the area from all other regions of the country, as well as from North America, the United Kingdom and Europe. . As the value of control of the land increased, tensions developed between the Boer government in Pretoria and the British, culminating in the Boer Wars. The Boers lost the wars and control of the area was ceded to the British. Controversy surrounds the origin of the name, as there were any number of people with the name "Johannes" who were involved in the early history of the city. The principal clerk attached to the office of the surveyor-general, Johannes Rissik, Christiaan Johannes Joubert, member of the Volksraad and the Republic's chief of mining, Paul Kruger, President of the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek (Transvaal). Rissik and Joubert were members of a delegation sent to England to attain mining rights for the area. Joubert had a park in the city named after him and Rissik street is today a main street where the (now dilapidated) Post Office and City Hall are located.

Currently the Johannesburg Metropolitan Council is implementing a large scale Inner City Revival project, leading to some business moving back to the inner city.

During the apartheid era, Johannesburg was divided into 11 local authorities, seven of which were white and four black or coloured. The white authorities were 90% self-sufficient from property tax and other local taxes, and spent ZAR 600 (USD 93) per person, while the black authorities were only 10% self-sufficient, spending R 100 (USD 15) per person.

The first post-apartheid City Council was created in 1995. The council adopted the slogan "One City, One Taxpayer" in order to highlight its primary goal of addressing unequal tax revenue distribution. To this end, revenue from wealthy, traditionally white areas would help pay for services needed in poorer, black areas. The City Council was divided into four regions, each with a substantially autonomous local regional authority that was to be overseen by a central metropolitan council. Furthermore, the municipal boundaries were expanded to include wealthy satellite towns like Sandton and Randburg, poorer neighbouring townships such as Soweto and Alexandra, and informal settlements like Orange Farm.

In 1999, Johannesburg appointed a city manager in order to reshape the city's ailing financial situation. The manager, together with the Municipal Council, drew up a blueprint called "Igoli 2002". This was a three-year plan that called upon the government to sell non-core assets, restructure certain utilities, and required that all others become self-sufficient. The plan took the city from near insolvency to an operating surplus of R 153 million (USD 23.6 million).

Following the creation of the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality, Johannesburg was divided into eleven administrative regions (these regions did not correspond to the areas governed by the former local authorities). In 2006, the number of administrative regions was consolidated, from eleven to seven.

After the Group Areas Act was scrapped in the early 1990s, Johannesburg was affected by urban blight. Thousands of poor, mostly 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, with Johannesburg the most Northerly major city and therein a logical choice. Crime levels rose, and especially the rate of violent crime. 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. By the late 1990s, Johannesburg was ranked as one of the most dangerous cities in the world.

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. As of December 11 2008, every street corner in Johannesburg central is under high-tech CCTV surveillance. The CCTV system, operated by the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD), is also able to detect stolen or hijacked vehicles by scanning the number plates of every vehicle traveling through the CBD, then comparing them to the eNaTIS database. The CCTV system has proven to be very effective. The average response time by police for crimes committed in the CBD is under 60 seconds.

Crime levels in Johannesburg have dropped as the economy has stabilised and begun to grow. Between 2001 and 2006, R9-Billion (US$1,2-Billion) has been invested in the city centre. Further investment of around R10-Billion (US1,5-Billion) is expected in the city centre alone by 2010. This excludes development directly associated with the 2010 soccer World Cup. In an effort to prepare Johannesburg for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, local government has enlisted the help of former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani to help bring down the crime rate, as the opening and closing matches of the tournament will be played in the city.

Johannesburg is located in the eastern plateau area of South Africa known as the Highveld, at an elevation of 1,753 metres (5,751 ft). The former CBD is located on the south side of the prominent ridge called the Witwatersrand (Afrikaans: White Water's Ridge) and the terrain falls to the north and south. By and large the Witwatersrand marks the watershed between the Limpopo and Vaal rivers. The north and west of the city has undulating hills while the eastern parts are flatter.

The city enjoys a dry, sunny climate, with the exception of occasional late afternoon downpours in the summer months of October to April. Temperatures in Johannesburg are usually fairly mild due to the city's high altitude, with the average maximum daytime temperature in January of 26 °C (79 °F), dropping to an average maximum of around 16 °C (61 °F) in June. Winter is the sunniest time of the year, with cool days and cold nights. The temperature occasionally drops to below freezing at night, causing frost. Snow is a rare occurrence, with snowfall having been experienced in May 1956, August 1962, June 1964, September 1981 and August 2006 (light). Snow fell again on 27 June 2007, accumulating up to 10 centimeters (3.9 in) in the southern suburbs. Regular cold fronts pass over in winter bringing very cold southerly winds but usually clear skies. The annual average rainfall is 713 millimetres (28.1 in), which is mostly concentrated in the summer months. Infrequent showers occur through the course of the winter months.

Despite the relatively dry climate, Johannesburg has over ten million trees, and it is now the biggest man-made forest in the world, followed by Graskop in Mpumalanga that is the second biggest. Many trees were originally planted in the northern areas of the city at the end of the 19th century, to provide wood for the mining industry. The areas were developed by the Randlord, Hermann Eckstein, a German immigrant, who called the forest estates Sachsenwald. The name was changed to Saxonwold, now the name of a suburb, during World War I. Early (white) residents who moved into the areas (Parkhurst, Parktown, Parkview, Westcliff, Saxonwold, Houghton Estate, Illovo, Hyde Park, Dunkeld, Melrose, Inanda, Sandhurst) now collectively referred to as the Northern Suburbs retained many of the original trees and planted new ones, with the encouragement of successive city councils. In recent years, however, a considerable number of trees have been felled, to make way for the Northern Suburbs' residential and commercial redevelopment.

According to the 2001 South African National Census, the population of Johannesburg is 3,225,812 people, though including the East Rand and other suburban areas it's around 7 million, consisting of people who live in 1,006,930 formal households, of which 86% have a flush or chemical toilet, and 91% have refuse removed by the municipality at least once a week. 81% of households have access to running water, and 80% use electricity as the main source of energy. 22% of Johannesburg residents stay in informal dwellings. 66% of households are headed by one person.

Black Africans account for 73% of the population, followed by whites at 16%, coloureds at 6% and Asians at 4%. 42% of the population is under the age of 24, while 6% of the population is over 60 years of age. 37% of city residents are unemployed. 91% of the unemployed are black. Women comprise 43% of the working population. 19% of economically active adults work in wholesale and retail sectors, 18% in financial, real estate and business services, 17% in community, social and personal services and 12% are in manufacturing. Only 0.7% work in mining.

34% of Johannesburg residents speak Nguni languages at home, 26% speak Sotho languages, 19% speak English, and 8% speak Afrikaans. 29% of adults have graduated from high school. 14% have higher education (University or Technical school). 7% of residents are completely illiterate. 15% have primary education.

34% use public transportation to commute to work or school. 32% walk to work or school. 34% use private transportation to travel to work or school.

53% belong to mainstream Christian churches, 24% are not affiliated with any organized religion, 14% are members of African Independent Churches, 3% are Muslim, 1% are Jewish and 1% are Hindu.

Johannesburg is home to some of Africa's tallest structures, such as the Sentech Tower, Hillbrow Tower and the Carlton Centre.

Parks and gardens in Johannesburg are maintained by Johannesburg City Parks. They are also responsible for maintaining and planting the millions of trees in Johannesburg.

Johannesburg Botanical Garden, located in the suburb of Emmarentia, is a popular recreational park.

Johannesburg is the economic and financial hub of South Africa, producing 16% of South Africa's gross domestic product, and accounts for 40% of Gauteng's economic activity. In a 2007 survey conducted by Mastercard, Johannesburg ranked 47 out of 50 top cities in the world as a worldwide centre of commerce (the only city in Africa) .

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. Johannesburg has Africa's largest stock exchange, the JSE Securities Exchange although it has moved out of the central business district. 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.

There is also a significant informal economy consisting of cash-only street traders and vendors. The level of this economic activity is difficult to track in official statistics and it supports a sector of the population including immigrants who are not in formal employment. However, it is clear that the informal economy operating in Johannesburg is certainly one of the biggest in the world.

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.

The container terminal at City Deep is purported to be the largest "dry port" in the world, with some 60% of cargo that arrives through the port of Durban arriving in Johannesburg. The City Deep area has been declared an IDZ (industrial development zone) by the Gauteng government, as part of the Blue IQ Project.

Johannesburg's largest shopping centre is Sandton City, while Hyde Park is one of its most prestigious. Other centres include Rosebank, Eastgate, Westgate, Northgate, Southgate, and Cresta. There are also plans to build a large shopping centre, known as the Zonk'Izizwe Shopping Resort, in Midrand. "Zonk'Izizwe" means "All Nations" in Zulu language, indicating that the centre will cater to the city's diverse mix of peoples and races. Also a complex named Greenstone in Modderfontein has been opened and is intended to become the largest shopping complex in the southern hemisphere.

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 (Media24). The electronic media is also headquartered in the greater metropolitan region. Beeld is a leading Afrikaans newspaper for the city and the country, while the City Press is a Sunday newspaper that 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 Mail & Guardian is an investigative liberal newspaper while The Citizen is a tabloid-style paper, and The Star is a local newspaper that mostly covers Gauteng-related issues. The Sunday Times is the most widely read national Sunday newspaper. True Love is the most widely read women's magazine, catering primarily to the up and coming middle class black female market, published by Media 24.

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.

Johannesburg has a number of regional radio stations such as YFM, Metro FM, 702, Highveld Stereo, 5FM, Kaya FM and Classic FM. The number of radio stations has increased in recent years as the government 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. etv is the only other terrestrial broadcaster and it is free-to-air and funded by advertising revenue. The city has two television towers, the Hillbrow Tower and the Sentech Tower.

Kwaito is the musical genre from Johannesburg that is considered to be the post-struggle (post-apartheid) music of choice by South African youth. Some consider Kwaito to be apolitical dance music because the same lyrics are typically repeated throughout the entire song and are placed over the rhythms and beats of House music.

Johannesburg's suburbs are the product of extensive urban sprawl and are regionalised into north, south, east and west, and they generally have different personalities. While the Central Business District and the immediate surrounding areas were formerly desirable living areas, the spatial accommodation of the suburbs has tended to see a flight from the city and immediate surrounds. The inner city buildings have been let out to the lower income groups and illegal immigrants and as a result abandoned buildings and crime have become a feature of inner city life. The immediate city suburbs include Yeoville, a hot spot for black nightlife despite its otherwise poor reputation. The suburbs to the south of the city are mainly blue collar neighbourhoods and situated closer to some townships. The suburbs to the west have in recent years floundered with the decline of the mining industry but have in some cases experienced some revival with properties being bought up by the black middle class. The biggest sprawl lies to the east and north. The eastern suburbs are relatively prosperous and close to various industrial zones. The northern suburbs have been the recipient of most of the flight from the inner city and some residential areas have become commercialised particularly around the area of Sandton, stretching north towards Midrand, a half way point between Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria.

Traditionally the northern and northwestern suburbs have been the centre for the wealthy, containing the high-end retail shops as well as several upper-class residential areas such as Hyde Park, Sandhurst, Northcliff and Houghton, where Nelson Mandela makes his home. The northwestern area in particular is vibrant and lively, with the mostly-black suburb of Sophiatown once centre of political activity and the Bohemian-flavoured Melville featuring restaurants and nightlife. Auckland Park is home to the headquarters of the South African Broadcasting Corporation and the University of Johannesburg.

To the southwest of the City Centre is Soweto, a mostly black urban area constructed during the apartheid regime specifically for housing African people who were then living in areas designated by the government for white settlement. Today, Soweto is among the poorest parts of Johannesburg.

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 more attractions for tourists. Recent additions have centred around history museums, such as the Apartheid Museum and the Hector Pieterson Museum. Gold Reef City, a large amusement park to the south of the Central Business District, is also a large draw for tourists in the city. The Johannesburg Zoo is also one of the largest in South Africa.

The city also has several art museums, such as the Johannesburg Art Gallery, which featured South African and European landscape and figurative paintings. The Museum Africa covers the history of the city of Johannesburg, as well as housing a large collection of rock art. The Market Theatre complex attained notoriety in the 1970s and 1980s by staging anti-apartheid plays, and has now become a centre for modern South African playwriting.

There is also a large industry around visiting former townships, such as Soweto and Alexandra. Most visitors to Soweto go to see the Mandela Museum, which is located in the former home of Nelson Mandela.

The Cradle of Humankind UNESCO World Heritage Site is 25 kilometers (16 mi) to the northwest of the city. 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.

Johannesburg's most popular sports by participation are association football, cricket, rugby union, and running. The Lions, formerly the Cats, represent Johannesburg, North West and Mpumalanga in the Southern Hemisphere's Super 14 Rugby Competition, which includes teams from South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.

Cricket is one of the more popular sports. In cricket, the Highveld Lions represent Johannesburg, the rest of Gauteng as well as the North West Province at the Wanderers Stadium which was the venue for the 2003 Cricket World Cup Final in which Australia successfully defended their title. Wanderers Stadium hosted what many cricket fans consider the greatest ever ODI match in which South Africa successfully chased down 434 runs. They take part in the first class SuperSport Series, the one-day MTN Domestic Championship and the Twenty20 Standard Bank Pro 20 Series.

Johannesburg also hosted matches from and the final of the ICC World Twenty20. in which India beat Pakistan in the final.

Johannesburg, much like Los Angeles, is a young and sprawling city geared towards private motorists, and lacks a convenient public transportation system. A significant number of the city's residents are dependent on the city's informal minibus taxis.

Johannesburg is served by OR Tambo International Airport (formerly Johannesburg International Airport) for both domestic and international flights. Other airports include Rand Airport, Grand Central Airport, and Lanseria. Rand Airport, located in Germiston, is a small airfield used mostly for private aircraft and the home of South African Airways's first Boeing 747 Classic, the Lebombo, which is now an aviation museum. Grand Central is located in Midrand and also caters to small, private aircraft. Lanseria Airport is used for commercial flights to Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Botswana, and Sun City.

The fact that Johannesburg is not built near a large navigable body of water has meant that from the very beginning of the city's history, ground transportation has been the most important method of transporting people and goods in and out of the city. One of Africa's most famous "beltways" or ring roads/orbitals is the Johannesburg Ring Road. The road is composed of three freeways that converge on the city, forming an 80 kilometers (50 mi) loop around it: the N3 Eastern Bypass, which links Johannesburg with Durban; the N1 Western Bypass, which links Johannesburg with Pretoria and Cape Town; and the N12 Southern Bypass, which links Johannesburg with Witbank and Kimberley. 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 (6 lanes in either direction), 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 purported to be the busiest interchange in the Southern Hemisphere. It is also claimed that the N1 is the busiest road in South Africa.

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 1980s The minibus taxi industry has been severely affected by turf wars.

Johannesburg's metro railway system connects central Johannesburg to Soweto, Pretoria, and most of the satellite towns along the Witwatersrand. The railways transport huge numbers of workers everyday. However, the railway 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, currently lack rail infrastructure.

Construction of the Gautrain Rapid Rail started in October 2006 and will be completed by 2011, not in time for the FIFA World Cup. It will consist of a number of underground stations, as well as above ground stations. It will run from Johannesburg's Park Station, through Rosebank, Sandton, Midrand and into Pretoria. There will also be a line from the OR Tambo International Airport traveling to Sandton. This will be the first new railway system that has been laid in South Africa since 1977. The Gauteng Provincial Government's Blue IQ Project, Gautrain, however, has made provisions for the creation of a rapid rail link, running north to south, between Johannesburg and Pretoria, and east-west between Sandton and Johannesburg International Airport. Slated to be ready in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the rail system is being designed to alleviate traffic on the N1 freeway between Johannesburg and Pretoria, which records vehicle loads of up to 300,000 per day.

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 550 single and double-decker buses, plying 84 different routes in the city. This total includes 200 modern buses (150 double-deckers and 50 single-deckers), made by Volvo and Marcopolo/Brasa in 2002. 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.

PUTCO also operated buss routes in and around the city.

The City of Johannesburg has begun construction on its new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. The BRT project, titled Rea Vaya (We are moving), aims to rid the city's roads of congestion and promote safe, efficient and reliable public transport. It will run seven days a week, from 05h00 until midnight. Bus frequencies will be between two and five minutes during peak hours, and seven and ten minutes during the off-peak. The system will operate on main roads throughout the city, running down designated median lanes. Rea Vaya will also offer additional, smaller feeder-buses to areas around each BRT station to ensure speedy connections from homes to main routes. The BRT stations will be located every 500m along each BRT route, offering ticket vending machines and live travel information. Larger BRT stations will also offer sales kiosks, bathrooms and park and ride facilities. The BRT system has been designed with other transport modes in mind, so as to ensure a smooth change from various transportation options - particularly with the Gautrain. The first phase of the BRT is intended to be up and running in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

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 2005 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 South Africa, and is famous as a centre of resistance to apartheid.

Private universities include Monash University, which has one of its eight campuses in Johannesburg (six of the other campuses are in Australia, while the eighth is in Malaysia), and Midrand Graduate Institute which is located in Midrand.

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Suburbs of Johannesburg

A street in central Hillbrow. Under apartheid Hillbrow was a prosperous white suburb in the city; however, it is now extremely dangerous.

The suburbs of Johannesburg are officially demarcated areas within the city of Johannesburg, South Africa. As in other Commonwealth countries, the term suburb refers to a "neighbourhood", although the term has a somewhat stronger meaning in South Africa as most suburbs have legally recognised borders and separate postal codes. The municipal functions for the area, such as police and social services, are still managed by either the local region or the city government.

Johannesburg, like many other boom towns, grew rapidly and with little planning, and thus the city covers an extremely large area. The main differences between the city's suburbs tend to be socioeconomic: The wealthy live to the north of the City Centre in the northern suburbs, while the poor live to the south and on the fringes of the city in former townships. Many people see themselves as being a resident of their suburb first and foremost to being a resident of Johannesburg secondarily.

The first major modern settlements in Johannesburg were loosely planned, as they grew up quickly in order to service the need for labour in the gold mines on the Witwatersrand. However, the population of Johannesburg increased rapidly and the city quickly established formal neighbourhoods, most of which were racially mixed as labourers lived together. The earliest formal settlement to house people of all races, Kliptown, is located near today's Soweto.

The Central Business District (CBD) grew rapidly in the early 1900s as many formal European style buildings were constructed, such as the city's main post office. The Central Business District was the first part of the city to be built in a grid, which was designed around the major road known as Commissioner Street, which served as the central artery for the city. During this time period, the city invested in street cars, which mostly served to connect wealthier white suburbs with the CBD. Physical growth, although somewhat limited by transportation, continued quickly as immigration to South Africa, and Johannesburg in particular, increased dramatically.

This problem was solved in the 1930s when the automobile was introduced in mass production to South Africa. Automobiles were, for the most part, confined to the wealthy, and permitted them to move to the north of the city and commute into the centre. The South African economy did extremely well at the end of World War II and many new immigrants came to South Africa from Europe. Most poor suburbs were mixed, with poor blacks and whites living together, although the wealthy suburbs were usually reserved for whites. This changed with the election of the National Party in the 1948 elections, who began to formalise the system known as apartheid. Apartheid formally designated which suburbs each race could live in under the Group Areas Act.

Consequently, the city was divided into white and black suburbs. The white suburbs were mostly wealthy and well-developed, and located in the nicest areas in the Johannesburg region. Black South Africans lived in poorly developed townships and suburbs out of view of the white suburbs. Many large freeways were built to link Johannesburg with the rest of South Africa, although this permitted the further outward expansion of the city along the N1, N3, and M2 roadways. Public transport construction was completely abandoned, except for a minor bus system.

This system continued until the 1980s, when international sanctions and a poor security situation lead to a large contraction in the economy. Many companies abandoned skyscrapers that had been built in the Central Business District (CBD) in the 1960s and 1970s, and left warehouses empty or little used.

When the Group Areas Act was repealed, there was a mass migration of former township dwellers and illegal immigrants to buildings in the CBD and surrounding areas, which caused crime rates to increase dramatically in the Central area of the city. Many businesses that had not closed their CBD offices left for more secured Northern suburbs, and in particular, Sandton. The amount of business and population of the northern suburbs increased exponentially, while the CBD was left empty and abandoned as a "no-go zone". The previous owners of buildings in the CBD abandoned them as their value decreased, and more illegal immigrants moved in. Many suburbs near the CBD also felt the demographic change as previously white and middle class suburbs like Yeoville became mostly black and dangerous within the space of two to three years.

The city government has attempted to rectify this situation as of 2005 by installing CCTV cameras all over the city centre, and increasing police presence. Some businesses and residents have returned, although most businesses have built permanent and better facilities in the northern suburbs, so a large-scale return is unlikely. The city has grown so quickly to the north that the border between Johannesburg, Midrand, and Centurion is mostly an arbitrary political border, as the two cities have grown together so there is no space between them.

The city of Johannesburg is divided into seven regions for administrative purposes, lettered from A to G. The previous system of eleven numbered regions was reorganised in 2006.

The inner city of Johannesburg is located within the city's Region F. The inner city is an extremely diverse region, with areas ranging from severely degraded residential areas such as Bertrams, to the somewhat stable commercial area of Braamfontein. The estimated population of the region is 200,000, but the number of people living in the inner city on an informal basis is unknown, as many are illegal immigrants. Most higher-income residents and white people have moved to the northern suburbs and have been replaced by lower-income black people. The unemployment, education, and age profiles of the area are all unknown, due to the difficulty of obtaining reliable information about the area. There have been significant movements to revitalise the CBD, most of which have focused on the reduction of crime, especially street crime in the central area, and the redevelopment of Newtown as a cultural hub for the city.

Centred around the CBD, the region includes the suburbs of Yeoville, Bellevue, Troyeville, Jeppestown, and Berea to the east. To the west it spreads to Pageview and Fordsburg. There are small industrial areas to the south, such as City West-Denver and Benrose.

Around 800,000 commuters pass through the inner city every day, and it functions as a regional shopping node for visitors from the southern suburbs. All major arterial roads originate from the inner city and spread out into other parts of the city. Johannesburg's main railway station, bus terminal, and minibus taxi centre are all located in the inner city.

The suburbs close to the CBD, in particular Joubert Park, Hillbrow, and Berea, have a large number of high-rise apartment blocks. These areas were formerly extremely desirable; however, due to the increase in crime, the housing stock has greatly deteriorated as many wealthier residents have left for the northern suburbs. The existing buildings in the CBD area are insufficient to meet the current demands for housing in the area, and as a result, many under-utilised or abandoned office buildings have been taken over by squatters, or converted into residential housing units. Yeoville and Bellevue have a mix of apartment buildings and single residential units on small lots.

The region is located on a mountainous divide that runs from east to west. The most conspicuous geographic feature is Observatory Ridge, which is named for the large observatory located on it. The recreational spaces are no longer used, due to security problems. The CBD area lacks open spaces; although there are small neighbourhood parks in all suburbs, they are also not used due to mugging concerns. Both the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Johannesburg are located in the inner city. One of South Africa's leading sporting venues, Ellis Park Stadium, is located in Doornfontein. It serves as primary home to one of South Africa's most famous football sides, the Orlando Pirates, and the exclusive home of Jo'burg's two professional rugby union teams, the Lions in the Southern Hemisphere Super 14 and the Golden Lions in the domestic Currie Cup. It will also be a venue for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Johannesburg Stadium, a secondary home to the Pirates, is nearby.

The eastern suburbs are some of the oldest areas of Johannesburg, there are large communities of Jewish and other European backgrounds, the majority of the population is English speaking. There are three golf courses as well as a number of protected ridges with viewsites.

There are several well-developed and up-market entertainment and shopping areas in the east such as the Eastgate shopping centre and the Greenstone shopping centre.

Soweto and the south-eastern suburbs, located in Region 6 and Region 10, border the city's mining belt in the north. The area is mostly composed of old "matchbox" houses, or four-room houses built by the government, that were built to provide cheap accommodation for black workers during apartheid.

Soweto is an abbreviation, standing for "South Western Townships". Street after street in this area is lined with matchboxes; however, there are a few smaller areas where prosperous Sowetans have built houses that are more similar in stature with those in more affluent suburbs. Many people who still live in matchbox houses have improved and expanded their homes, and the City Council has enabled the planting of more trees and the improving of parks and green spaces in the area.

Hostels are another prominent physical feature of Soweto. Originally built to house male migrant workers, many have been improved as dwellings for couples and families. The N1 Western Bypass skirts the eastern boundary of Soweto. The suburb was not historically allowed to create employment centres within the area, so almost all of its residents are commuters to other parts of the city. There is efficient road access for many parts of the region along busy highways to the CBD and Roodepoort, but commuters are largely reliant on trains and taxis.

The northern suburbs, located in Regions 2, 3, 4, and 7, include the most wealthy and developed parts of the city. Spreading to the north from the inner city to the border with Midrand, the northern suburbs include both large housing developments and commercial centres. The northern suburbs benefited greatly from the deterioration of the CBD, as many people and businesses moved. The northern suburbs have developed along the M1 and N1 highways, which serve as their major arterial roads. The N1 Western Bypass connects the northern suburbs with the north-western suburbs.

The residential areas in the northern suburbs are mainly formal, with no significant areas of informal housing, or housing that lacks a permanent structure. Although this is an established area, there is a trend of land use change from residential to commercial, especially along main arterial roads and around established nodes. The area is also becoming more dense, as large residential properties are subdivided, or redeveloped, as townhouse and cluster house complexes. The area is well connected to road networks, especially along the north-south axis formed by the M1 and N1. Roads to the east and west are less well developed, as there are no freeways travelling in that direction.

Towards the northern border of the city, the density of development decreases, leaving large areas of undeveloped land around Midrand. Grand Central Airport is also located in the area, which makes the northern suburbs more accessible to the rest of South Africa. The first suburb to the north of the inner city is Parktown, which is located on a hill overlooking the inner city and Hillbrow. It has many wealthy residents and Edwardian-style mansions. Just to the west of Parktown is Westcliff and Parkwood, which is one of the wealthiest areas in Johannesburg, as it is located on the side of a very tall hill and overlooks the inner city as well as the northern suburbs. Other wealthy residential suburbs, Saxonwold and Houghton continue to the north of Westcliff. Nelson Mandela has a house in Houghton, and it is also the location of the most prestigious secondary schools in Johannesburg. Houghton is also the former electoral district of Helen Suzman, a famous anti-apartheid Member of Parliament.

The suburbs become more commercial to the north of Houghton. Rosebank is the centre of high-end retail and shopping for northern suburb residents. Most retail development has centred on the Zone@Rosebank, one of the most prestigious shopping centres in Gauteng. Many smaller companies who cannot afford to be located in Sandton also are located in Rosebank. The suburbs near Rosebank, including Parkhurst, Parktown North, Craighall Park and Greenside are collectively known as "The Parks". Parkhurst is known for its village atmosphere and pavement cafés and restaurants. Greenside is next to Parkhurst and has developed Parkhurst-style restaurants.

Hyde Park, Sandton, and Morningside are all to the north of Rosebank, all of which are extremely wealthy and well policed. Sandton has become the new business area of Johannesburg, and features many corporate headquarters, as well as Nelson Mandela Square and Wanderers Stadium, the most prestigious cricket ground in South Africa. The skyline of Sandton has grown rapidly and there are many projects under development in the area. Sandton is also the location of the JSE Securities Exchange, Africa's largest stock exchange, which relocated from the CBD in 2000.

The quality of life deteriorates on the outer fringes of the northern suburbs. One of the poorest townships, Alexandra, is located in this border area, to the east of Sandton.

The north-western suburbs, located in Regions A and B, exist between the northern suburbs, Soweto, and the inner city. They are mostly low-rise although there are few skyscrapers. There are a few new developments in the recently incorporated city of Randburg, which is a chief commercial node for the area. The area is also connected to the rest of the city by the N1 Western Bypass.

Roodepoort is another major formerly independent municipality, recently incorporated into Johannesburg. Roodepoort's previously predominantly white population is changing as its proximity to Soweto has made it attractive to middle-class black people who want to move to nicer houses while maintaining ties to their old communities. There is ample access from the more affluent northern residential areas to the inner city. However, links are poor towards high economic and commercial areas in the north, such as Randburg and Sandton. This gives rise to increasing numbers of secondary roads, creating congestion and putting pressure on residential areas and infrastructure.

Towards the extreme north-west of the city, there are well-developed farms, as well as smaller formal and informal residential areas. There are also large manufacturing and industrial nodes. The informal settlements in this area are growing rapidly, with 76 per cent of the population of Diepsloot living in informal housing. The industrial areas along Malibongwe Drive in the south-west form part of the Kya Sand area. Fourways, in the south-east, is the major retail, office and entertainment area.

The first suburb to be grouped in the north-west is Auckland Park. Auckland Park is home to the headquarters of the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which is located in Radiopark, and two campuses of the sprawling University of Johannesburg.

North of Auckland Park lies Melville, which has morphed into a Bohemian enclave of restaurants, cafés, and bookstores based chiefly around 7th Avenue. This occurred mainly following the South African Broadcasting Corporation moving its headquarters to Auckland Park. Melville's main entertainment strip is 7th Road. A national serial drama, 7de Laan, shows the strip in its opening credits, mistakenly referring to the road as 7th Avenue. In Melville, lanes run east to west while roads lie north to south. Melville borders on the north to the Melville Koppies, a small protected reserve. The chief road that cuts though Melville's business area, Beyers Naude Drive. Currently Melville has faced decline as several businesses relocate back into to the newly renovated Newtown area in the city centre.

West of Melville is Sophiatown, once one of the most vibrant black suburbs in the city. Considered a criminal and political hotbed, the entire suburb was razed to the ground in the 1950s. A white suburb of Triomf, meaning "triumph" in Afrikaans, was constructed in its place. The only remaining original Sophiatown building is the Anglican Church of Christ the King. The area has since reintroduced the use of its original name.

The southern suburbs, located in Regions 9, 10, and 11, extend to the south of the inner city, and are somewhat isolated from the rest of Johannesburg. On a map, the southern suburbs appear to hang down from the border of Soweto and Johannesburg South. It is about 40 kilometres south of the inner city. It is actually the most isolated, least integrated area of Johannesburg, with its east, west, and southern boundaries also forming Johannesburg proper's boundaries in the area. It is diagonally traversed by the N1, with the N12 running along its northern border.

The southern suburbs tend to be either solely industrial or solely residential, with most residents in the residential areas being long-term residents in well-established communities. The majority of houses in these formal settlements are included in one of Johannesburg's lowest income brackets. At the extreme south end of the city, there are extremely large informal settlements, such as Orange Farm, which suffer from widespread poverty and unemployment, which are compounded by their isolation from the rest of the city, which in turn makes it costly to extend much-needed infrastructure from the more integrated suburbs.

A significant amount of underdeveloped and vacant agricultural land is publicly owned, and the city government is currently in the process of selling large tracts of it for development, which is hoped to provide jobs for the residents of the informal settlements. Rand Stadium, the oldest football stadium in the city, is located in the southern suburb of Rosettenville.

Turffontein was the largest concentration camp in Johannesburg during the Anglo Boer War. The camp was located where the Turffontein Racecourse is now, and housed about 5000 people. The 700 who died of that group were buried on a farm called Klipriviers Berg in Winchester Hills. The racecourse hosts the Summer Cup one of three major races in South Africa.

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Greater Johannesburg

The Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Area is the name of the area surrounding the city of Johannesburg, in South Africa. It includes Johannesburg and the areas of the East Rand and West Rand. It is often referred to as the Witwatersrand, or Rand, after a low mountain range that runs through the area. As of 2005, it consists of different local government units, including Ekurhuleni (made up of the East Rand), the West Rand District Municipality (the West Rand) and Johannesburg.

The metropolitan area is roughly elliptical (or oblong) in shape, with more development around the core city of Johannesburg. The area stretches almost 100 kilometres (60 miles) east-west from Randfontein to Nigel, and some 60 kilometres (37 miles) north-south from Midrand to Orange Farm and Vosloorus. The contiguous built-up urban area is listed as being 1,300km² (502 mi²) in land size, which is by far the largest city in Africa in terms of urban sprawl.

Greater Johannesburg's growth was largely based initially on the discovery of gold, and the urban area runs the length of the gold-bearing reef from east to west. In the past 30 years, there has been considerable growth to the north, as Johannesburg has expanded. Sandton, created as a separate municipal area north of Johannesburg in 1969, is where much of the new business growth has taken place.

In keeping with the definition of a metropolitan area, Johannesburg is multi-nodal, with several centres which are important within their own right: these include Sandton, Randburg, Midrand, Germiston, Roodepoort, Kempton Park, Boksburg, Benoni and Springs. The urban area is often described as having an inner urban core and an outer core, with the focal point being the Johannesburg CBD.

Over the years, Johannesburg and Pretoria (the Tshwane metropolitan area) have also been growing together, and the two cities share a common border. Questions have been raised as to whether they are beginning to function as one, and if this constitutes an extension of the metropolitan area to include Pretoria. Research suggests, however, that Pretoria is a metropolitan area in its own right, and that Johannesburg and Pretoria actually form the start of a megalopolitan system, with Johannesburg as its apex. The inclusion of another major metropolitan area to the south of Johannesburg, the Vaal Triangle, also forms part of this megalopolis, as a concept first coined and defined by French geographer Jean Gottmann.

Johannesburg is listed as having a metropolitan area population of almost 8 million, about two fifths the size of Greater New York.

As yet, there is no freeway that spans the entire length of the Rand, but plans are in motion to extend the N17 freeway from central Johannesburg to Krugersdorp, so that a motorist could cross the area in less than an hour. The new stretch of freeway will be tolled.

The University of the Witwatersrand, as well as the University of Johannesburg, built to serve the residents of the whole area, are located in Johannesburg.

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Source : Wikipedia