Gentrification In South Africa Essay

833 words - 3 pages

Social Segregation in Cities: Gentrification

What is gentrification?

Gentrification is a process in which low-cost, physically deteriorated neighborhoods experience physical renovation and an increase in property values, along with an increase in wealthier residents who typically replace the prior residents.

Introduction

Johannesburg, also known as Egoli is the largest city in South Africa. It is part of the Gauteng province; the most wealthy province of South Africa. More than three million people live in Johannesburg. Johannesburg alone, accounts for 16% of South Africa's GDP.

Johannesburg's Economy

Johannesburg economic importance is declining as gold mining no longer takes place within the cities limits. However, most mining companies still have their headquarters here. Manufacturing steel and cement is a very important activity taken place here. Johannesburg is home to Africa's largest stock exchange the JSE Securities Exchange. The container terminal at Johannesburg is purported to be the largest 'dry port' in the world with 60% of all containers going through port of Durban arriving at Johannesburg.

Gentrification in Johannesburg

In 1886 George Harrison founded the city of Johannesburg when he found gold mines in the area. Apartheid, kept black people in townships outside Johannesburg; leaving it a commercial stronghold and symbol of white might in the region. At the end of Apartheid in the 1980's restrictions were lifted and thousands of poor blacks flocked into the city seeking jobs and homes. The White minority was astonished by this sudden influx and important commercial activities such as the Stock Exchange were moved to the Northern suburbs. Police lost control of Johannesburg and it soon became an abandoned area that most people gave up on.

Several important activities by the government helped turn Johannesburg around. The government and businesses which stayed put up CCTVs connected to police units. City safaris were set up in which investors were bussed around to cheap properties that they could develop. Tax breaks were given to businesses that stayed in Johannesburg.

What is happpening?

Johannesburg's crime rate is dropping rapidly. Johannesburg is losing its reputation as a center of crime which it earned in the 90's. There has been an 80% decrease in crime. Cheap aparment blocks are being replaced by high rise expensive penthouse blocks with rooftop swimming pools. You can now see BMW's and other nice cars on the streets of Johannesburg. Price of aparments have increased 35 fold in the past six years. Large, smart, low cost aparment blcoks are being made for the largely black middle class. The...

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