Drawing on practical experiences of almost 15 years working within Gauteng Province and the City of Johannesburg my paper will focus on the location of poor communities within Johannesburg in relation to selected Inner-City areas and public transportation networks. The introduction notes the historical foundations and spatial legacies of the City (for example, the mining industry, pre and post apartheid doctrines and migration patterns). It acknowledges that these foundations, legacies and future characteristics City are shaped by diverse and complex rationalities that are frequently misunderstood or contradictory. As an example, the paper highlights contradictions and challenges resulting from the conventional, post-1994, housing supply rationale with the demands and needs of low income communities. A working definition of the “urban poor” within the City is proposed; the definition premised on Household Income and Unemployment Indicators. The paper considers the means and locations available to this group within and around Johannesburg focusing on Inner City buildings and informal settlements. The derived and relative benefits or challenges of these locations are also summarised. The spatial relationship between the urban poor, selected nodal areas and transportation networks has been analysed utilising GIS and supporting statistical information derived from contemporary data sources. Additionally, the paper highlights a number of the key development patterns and trends that are associated with the informal settlements and the interventions the City is considering implementing to address them. The findings illustrate the stark reality presented within Johannesburg; a reality that continues to afford a marginal existence to the majority of the Urban Poor. In recent years, the policy frameworks and institutional arrangements employed by the City of Johannesburg have been revisited with a view to addressing, more pro-actively, the accommodation needs urban poor and to augment Inner City regeneration initiatives. The paper concludes with an overview of this emerging policy and thinking, illustrating some contemporary successes and where further efforts and resources are required in the future.

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Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS)
IHS Working Papers
Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS)

Ahmad, P., Chirisa, I., Magwaro-Ndiweni, L., Michundu, M., Ndela, W., Nkonge, M., & Sachs, D. (2010). Urbanising Africa: the city centre revisited: Experiences with inner-city revitalisation from Johannesburg (South Africa), Mbabane (Swaziland), Lusaka (Zambia), Harare and Bulawayo (Zimbabwe) (No. IHS WP 26). IHS Working Papers. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/32177