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Within the Metropolitan Municipality, the old centre, established in and given city status in , has been listed in recent censuses as a "main place".

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As of [update] , this main place had a population of , and an area of Johannesburg's urban agglomeration spreads well beyond the administrative boundary of the municipality. The population of the whole area has been estimated to be variously at 7,, in by "citypopulation. Some authors consider the metropolitan area to include most of Gauteng province.

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Johannesburg's suburbs are the product of urban sprawl and are regionalised into north, south, east and west, and they generally have different personalities. 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. Greater Johannesburg consists of more than five hundred suburbs in an area covering more than two hundred square miles square kilometres. 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 local African 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 with the city starting to sprawl northwards and multiple secondary CBDs forming in the north towards Pretoria. Traditionally the northern and north-western 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 , Hurlingham , Bryanston and Houghton , where Nelson Mandela made his home.

The north-western area, in particular, is vibrant and lively, with the mostly black suburb of Sophiatown once the centre of political activity and the Bohemian-flavoured Melville featuring restaurants and nightlife. To the southwest of the city centre is Soweto , a township constructed during apartheid for housing displaced black South Africans then living in areas designated for white settlement.

To the south of Johannesburg is Lenasia , a predominantly Asian neighbourhood which was constructed during apartheid specifically to house Asians. Closer to Alexandria communities like Glenazel and Norwood have been integral in the urban landscape of Johannesburg. 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.

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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.


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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 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. 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.

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Crime levels in Johannesburg have dropped as the economy has stabilised and begun to grow. Murders in the Johannesburg municipality amounted to 1, in according to the South African Medical Research Council, a rate of 43 per Johannesburg is a cultural hub in South Africa [82] 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, [82] [83] as well as the Johannesburg Art Gallery [84] and other prominent cultural landmarks, such as the Mary Fitzgerald Square [82] 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.

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The following is a list of some of the museums and galleries that can be found in Johannesburg. The Joburg Theatre complex hosts drama, opera and ballet.

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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. 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, however soon to be eclipsed by The Leonardo Sandton , 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 , in addition to the Johannesburg Zoo , one of the largest in South Africa.


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