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About Region B

Where we are

Vusi Mavuso

Regional director
BORDERING the bustling inner city lies the apparent affluence of Region B, an area which on first appearance seems to be without the usual challenges faced by the City's six other regions.

But Vusi Mavuso, the regional director, is quick to paint a clearer picture. "Diversity makes this a region within regions," he says. And this, he admits, is one of its biggest challenges – "bringing the Westburys and Westcliffs together". Although Region B has the fewest informal settlements, it suffers from the same ailment rampant in other areas – urban decline.
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Region B is in the centre of the City of Johannesburg, sharing its boundaries with four other regions.

To the west and northwest it borders Region C (Roodepoort and surrounds), to the east it borders Region E (Bryanston and Sandton) and to the southeast it borders Region F (the inner city).

It also shares a border with Region D (Soweto) along the suburb of Noordgesig. 
 


 

General description
Region B is well noted for its diversity, ranging from upmarket houses in both historic and newer suburbs, to central Randburg and trendy Rosebank.

The numbers of townhouse developments in the northern areas of the region are increasing, with residential and commercial interests competing for prime land in suburbs like Hyde Park. Robindale and Windsor also feature dense townhouse complexes and blocks of flats respectively.

Upmarket residential areas in the centre and to the north of the region include Bryanston extension, Hurlingham, Sandhurst and Dunkeld. Densification around Rosebank is expected as a direct consequence of the Gautrain station being built next to the retail precinct in that suburb.

Region B offers the historic, upmarket suburb of Westcliff, with its large, old homes and new businesses; Northcliff, with its spectacular views of Johannesburg; and the trendy, buzzy Melville, Parkhurst and - with the recent development of its restaurant strip - Greenside; while Emmarentia, Linden and Franklin Roosevelt Park are typical of the quiet central suburbs.

Older residential areas to the south of the region, such as Coronationville, Westbury, Riverlea and Langlaagte, have shown signs of decline over the years.

The region's commercial nodes include Rosebank, Randburg, Richmond, Parktown (west of Jan Smuts Avenue), Cresta and Florida, but small local retail and office areas are widespread. Industria is an important hub for industry.

There are significant open spaces and parks, and wetlands and watercourses link the region with the rest of the city in terms of a green belt and stormwater drainage. Spaces with open water provide pleasant recreational areas.

Region B is also home to the University of Johannesburg (Auckland Park campus), the Helen Joseph Hospital and the headquarters of the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

 


 

Demographic information
The population is estimated at just over 198 000 - about 6 percent of the population of greater Johannesburg.

This figure is expected to decline as a result of ageing, Aids-related deaths, a slowdown in migration into the area and an increase in migration out of the area. The region is, however, attracting young adults.

Over much of the area the population is stable and economically active, with high levels of education and disposable income. The southern areas, however, are characterised by high unemployment and low income levels. A large segment of the population is school-going age, creating a demand for social services and educational facilities.

 


 

Key issues
Key issues of concern in the region fall into two categories.

Development
Development is mainly economic, with rapid growth and strong pressures in and around Cresta and along the Sunnyside-University of Johannesburg belt.

There are also high levels of economic development along the arterial routes associated with these areas, in particular along Beyers Naude Drive and Ontdekkers Road.

There is a strong trend towards residential densification as more townhouse complexes are built and large, single residential properties (mainly in the north) are subdivided.

Gentrification in some of the older, inner urban residential areas is also increasing. These include Melville and the eastern part of Westdene, and the conversion of old industrial buildings adjacent to Egoli Gas into offices.

In contrast, many of the southern suburbs are prone to urban decay and decline. Industrial development along the Main Reef Road belt is adversely affected by the lack of access from the N1 freeway.

 





Transportation
Inadequate linkages mean that lower-order roads take on the role of arterial routes along the busy north-east/south-west commuter route. The resulting artificial arterial road system puts pressure on the existing infrastructure.

In addition, inappropriate development has begun on these lesser roads, many of which run through predominantly residential areas.

Services
There is a stark contrast between the northern and southern sub-areas of the region, with the latter subject to extreme poverty, unemployment and social problems. This requires intervention in the form of social development programmes and projects specifically focused on poverty alleviation and community capacity building.

However, there is no need for additional social facilities as the region is well supplied. The major hospitals - Helen Joseph, Garden City, Coronation and Milpark - are supplemented by numerous community health clinics. There is a large number of government and private schools and municipal recreation centres.

 


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