Johannesburg’s multi-ethnic population comprises 73% black African, 16% white, 6% mixed race and 4% Indian or Asian. Since the end of apartheid in 1994 Johannesburg has grown by 4% a year. In recent years there has been an increase in immigration from the rest of the continent to South Africa, particularly to Johannesburg. This has visibly affected many dimensions of city life, including its economy, housing and infrastructure demands, and social integration – with various outcomes. Johannesburg’s history of racial separation is still reflected in its social geography. Whites (a demographic minority) tend to occupy the northern leafy suburbs, where they are being joined by an emerging black middle class. Less affluent black Africans, traditionally relegated to townships, and migrants from elsewhere on the continent have moved into the now-deprived downtown area.

Crime, the ongoing rampant HIV/AIDS epidemic and a lack of safe public transport are key concerns. Life expectancy is notably low: only 4% of residents reach 65 and the average age for a male is 52 years. Almost one in three is under 20. Currently one household in five has no income; unemployment hovers around 600,000 people.

Project: Faraday Station Precinct

The Faraday Station Precinct is the hub of a new integrated transport system for a population previously badly served by the city’s social and physical infrastructure. The precinct, built above an existing commuter rail system, incorporates formal taxi ranks for the otherwise unregulated long distance and local minibuses which provide the cheapest mode of transport. It is also notable for providing safer, more formalised facilities for herb sellers and healers using traditional medicines or muti.

Designers: Albonica Sack Mzumara Architects & Urban Designers
Clients: City of Johannesburg and the Johannesburg Development Agency
Completion: 2003