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Old October 13th, 2008, 08:26 AM   #61
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Very interesting thread, i can see great efforts to normalize the situation.
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Old October 13th, 2008, 10:48 AM   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZimasterX View Post
I don't mean to stir anything or upset anybody but I was wondering. I checked out the skyscrapers in Johannesburg and found out that most were built in the 1970s. Afterwards and to this day, hardy if any skyscrapers were built. How come?
The 1970's saw the commodity boom and bust cycle. South Africa's economy grew massively, and then the 1980's brought back the political reality and more sanctions. So a lot of skyscrapers went up during the 1970's. However, some of Johannesburg's most inventive skyscrapers went up after this - the Diamond building (1985), the 40F Johannesburg Sun (1985 - it had to close its doors, and 500 rooms just 14 years later).

So the 1980's and 1990's we were struggling with political uncertainty, low economic growth, inflation, sanctions, violence - obviously not the climate for economic growth!

Another reason? Johannesburg is larger than Los Angeles area wise. This makes land cheaper, and since the mid-1990's decentralised nodes have exploded all over the city, with horrible 3F office parks. Traffic is horrible.

Today, the city is working on densification, and this is taking place around the new stations for the high-speed rail, and along the spines where the BRT bus system will run. Hopefully this will bring back higher density. Sandton is the new financial hub, and since the 35F Michaelangelo hotel and apartments opened in 2005, new skyscrapers followed. The 25F Radisson is just topped out. A 25F Park Inn hotel will follow. A 40F office building is currently stalled because they want to go higher. There are rumours of 80F buildings (but under the current climate, they probably will remain in the pipeline for now).

So the lack of buildings during the 1980's and 1990's has to do with low economic growth, lack of investment, uncontrolled urban sprawl and relatively cheap and available open land. Hope this answers your question.

Concerning racial mix. Sandton today is not majority white. Yes, it has a large percentage of white people, but I doubt whether they are in the majority. Sandton has become the playground for the new, black elite with their aston martin's etc. The same applies to Rosebank and Melrose. Hyde Park is mostly white - old money, old english values. Today Johannesburg is not a city of racial segregation, rather a city of economic segregation. And this is the sad reality, we have moved beyond racial apartheid to economic apartheid.

And then, ethnic areas are a reality in most cities. In Chicago people asked me why I was in an area (the only white person in a Wendy's Restaurant close to Wicker Park!). The same goes for Los Angeles. I think Johannesburg spatial framework, traffic and economic realities compare well with Los Angeles.
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Old October 13th, 2008, 10:57 AM   #63
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Looking over Illovo and Melrose towards the CBD in the south - taken from a hotel in Sandton. Note the dense urban forest.


Work continues on the Gautrain rail link - here you can see one of the sites where they are working on the tunnel running below Sandton.


The Radisson Hotel (25F), the newest addition to the Sandton skyline.


Looking towards the 25F Park Inn under construction, and to its right the Sandton Central Gautrain terminal - which will consist of 10underground levels. It will be the largest station on the 81km route.


The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (the blue glass building) with Nedbank's headquarters next to it - and another 9F building going up.


The 18F Alice Lane Towers under construction in Sandton


17F Inner Circle under Construction in Sandton


Investec Bank's new expansion in Sandton - only 12F.




New luxury apartment block - the Regent (12F)




Central Park mixed-use development breaking ground.


20 West Road luxury apartments

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Old October 14th, 2008, 12:05 AM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jakes1 View Post
The 1970's saw the commodity boom and bust cycle. South Africa's economy grew massively, and then the 1980's brought back the political reality and more sanctions. So a lot of skyscrapers went up during the 1970's. However, some of Johannesburg's most inventive skyscrapers went up after this - the Diamond building (1985), the 40F Johannesburg Sun (1985 - it had to close its doors, and 500 rooms just 14 years later).

So the 1980's and 1990's we were struggling with political uncertainty, low economic growth, inflation, sanctions, violence - obviously not the climate for economic growth!

Another reason? Johannesburg is larger than Los Angeles area wise. This makes land cheaper, and since the mid-1990's decentralised nodes have exploded all over the city, with horrible 3F office parks. Traffic is horrible.

Today, the city is working on densification, and this is taking place around the new stations for the high-speed rail, and along the spines where the BRT bus system will run. Hopefully this will bring back higher density. Sandton is the new financial hub, and since the 35F Michaelangelo hotel and apartments opened in 2005, new skyscrapers followed. The 25F Radisson is just topped out. A 25F Park Inn hotel will follow. A 40F office building is currently stalled because they want to go higher. There are rumours of 80F buildings (but under the current climate, they probably will remain in the pipeline for now).

So the lack of buildings during the 1980's and 1990's has to do with low economic growth, lack of investment, uncontrolled urban sprawl and relatively cheap and available open land. Hope this answers your question.

Concerning racial mix. Sandton today is not majority white. Yes, it has a large percentage of white people, but I doubt whether they are in the majority. Sandton has become the playground for the new, black elite with their aston martin's etc. The same applies to Rosebank and Melrose. Hyde Park is mostly white - old money, old english values. Today Johannesburg is not a city of racial segregation, rather a city of economic segregation. And this is the sad reality, we have moved beyond racial apartheid to economic apartheid.

And then, ethnic areas are a reality in most cities. In Chicago people asked me why I was in an area (the only white person in a Wendy's Restaurant close to Wicker Park!). The same goes for Los Angeles. I think Johannesburg spatial framework, traffic and economic realities compare well with Los Angeles.
Thanks for the info
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Old October 14th, 2008, 12:22 PM   #65
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My pleasure! Johannesburg is a complex city - a bit like an old, sad prostitute. But if you look with a closer eye you can still find some amazing spaces in this city - and maybe you will be one of the people that fall in love.
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Old October 15th, 2008, 04:52 AM   #66
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Sandton is a really cute area
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Old October 15th, 2008, 11:16 AM   #67
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Quote:
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Sandton is a really cute area
cute is a strange word to use! lol. For most Joburgers you either love or hate Sandton. When the traditional CBD ran dry, all the money went to Sandton, with its faux italian buildings a la Michaelangelo, Da Vinci, Raphael etc. etc. Sandton is the richest square mile in Africa, with lots and lots of yuppies on its streets (well, they don't walk, they drive). Sandton is pretentious, bling - very Beverly Hills, I guess. But they are getting the area to feel a bit more like something other than a neglected urban concoction at this stage. A lot of effort goes into keeping the streets clean and safe, with new street furniture, lights etc. So Sandton is starting to feel like a mini CBD. And with a couple of 25F almost done, and a couple of 40 - 80F rumoured to spring up - it might actually feel like a real space in the future.
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Old October 15th, 2008, 11:25 AM   #68
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Well the 80F isn't only a rumour anymore, but there's a very tall one that's rumoured and very sexy. Would be awesome if it went ahead. Then of course there's the Maude building, but goodness knows what's happening with that these days.

Sandton is pretty much booming. Sandton City, one of SA's megamalls, is currently undergoing a very major overhaul and expansion (the 80F tower is part of this development, as well as the refurbishment of two existing towers, among other developments).
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Old October 17th, 2008, 12:07 PM   #69
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From the meeting I held with the Sandton Municipality the past tuesday, Liberty is in a rush to start with the 1st phase of the 80 floors project.

All I can say is that, there even better news to come from Sandton, just watch the space.
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Old October 22nd, 2008, 12:46 PM   #70
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Going towards other parts of the city. This is Gold Reef City, the largest theme park in South Africa. It was developed on the site of a working gold mine... So today the gold mine is asleep, but you can still go on tours down the actual shafts.

The ferris wheel is boring (unless your afraid of heights), but it does offer some great views of the city and the CBD. To the left is the Tower of Terror - you go up the mining tower (original one) in one of those mine carts, and then you drop down vertically into a mineshaft. It totals a 55m drop - I have been on it countless times (and every time I am scared beyond whats good for my health). Rated as one of the most intense vertical drop coasters in the World.
Thanks for the pics pule.


The CBD as seen from the top of the ferris wheel


Victorian fair - boring, but perfect for kids




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Old October 22nd, 2008, 12:57 PM   #71
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A fun day in Mary Fitzgerald Square (Newtown, Johannesburg CBD) - Pics taken by pule again












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Old October 22nd, 2008, 01:03 PM   #72
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The Tower of Terror - Pictures taken by CoasterGuy... He has been on over 400 rollercoasters, rates this the most intense vertical drop coaster he has ever been on.






The Anaconda - Wonderful inverted coaster, quite a ride.


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Old October 22nd, 2008, 01:10 PM   #73
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Picture by Ivo Petrov. It shows the size of downtown Johannesburg.
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Old October 22nd, 2008, 08:24 PM   #74
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Interesting that you would compare Los Angeles to Johannesburg. California boomed during the Gold Rush. Johannesburg has gold and diamonds. Now California has pretend mines in Universal Studios.

In the photo above what would my experience be like to walk from one end (the left to the right) of the city to the other while staying on inner city streets like Catherine and Market? Could I take photos and walk like I could in Toronto, NYC and Philadelphia? Or is there an area that I would have to avoid? I want to know more about central Johannesburg. I don't care about Sandton or outlying areas. What is the reality of the inner city?
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 09:22 AM   #75
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cool pics

my family is from there and have some family still in the area

visited in 2002 - downtown was quite a sight back than compared to now even - much improved now

one day my cousin "accidently" drove into downtown and her friend freaked out and made us all lock our doors and close the windows etc

spent some time at the bus depot it wasn't too bad but looks much better now

keep the pics coming
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 01:24 PM   #76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philadweller View Post
Interesting that you would compare Los Angeles to Johannesburg. California boomed during the Gold Rush. Johannesburg has gold and diamonds. Now California has pretend mines in Universal Studios.

In the photo above what would my experience be like to walk from one end (the left to the right) of the city to the other while staying on inner city streets like Catherine and Market? Could I take photos and walk like I could in Toronto, NYC and Philadelphia? Or is there an area that I would have to avoid? I want to know more about central Johannesburg. I don't care about Sandton or outlying areas. What is the reality of the inner city?
A lot remains to be done in the CBD. With the flight of capital from the CBD that started during the late 1980's and picked up speed to the end of 1990, a lot of office, apartment and government buildings imploded - taken over by vagrants. Many buildings have no power or water, yet hundreds of people live in them - paying rent to illegal building owners (building hijackers). In many cases the real owners are abroad, or they just don't care.

An example of hijacked buildings between Newtown and the Southwestern district (Marshalltown). All of these buildings are currently undergoing renovation - but you can see how shockingly they deteriorated!










The Post Office is owned by the Gauteng Provincial Department, yet it has virtually been stripped by copper thieves. Today it is boarded up and secured, awaiting restoration - but the damage is done. The clocktower, with its brass bells have been stripped. Door handles. Wooden floors - it is a travesty!

The Barbican building was the first real skyscraper in the city. Old Mutual has its headquarters right next door, yet the barbican was allowed to implode on itself. Apparently it is going to be redeveloped now.

Sculptures were stolen, like the famous jumping impala - when one of the parks were raded by copper thieves. The sculpture has been restored, and is now moved to another park in the CBD.

All of the 5star hotels in the CBD have closed down - the last one in 1998.

At one stage it was so bad that they would shuttle employes of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange the two blocks from the office to the parking lot - it was too dangerous to walk!

today, it is much better. The rot has been halted, but many bad buildings remain. So walking in the CBD is safe - depending on where you are - this compares with Manhattan I guess. The SouthWestern area is the safest at this stage - probably one of the safest areas in Johannesburg. A new four start hotel that opened last year boasts 90% occupancy. Two others are set to follow. Coffee shops line the streets. This is a really gentrified area.















The Northwestern quadrant is the shopping district - it was johannesburg's answer to 5th Ave in New York for decades. Today it is safe, although it is definately not upmarket anymore. The Carlton office block (our SEERS Tower, and by the same architects) is in this area. It is the tallest office block in Africa (at 50F). It was sold for a mere $3million US in 1999! Today it is a prime spot again in the CBD, fully rented and bustling with activity (almost empty just 10years ago!). The empty Carlton Hotel (30F) is still standing there, waiting for a developer. This area is not as gentrified as the Southwestern area, but a major bank is building 3 new office blocks in the area, and it is looking a lot better.

The retail district in 2002






The the Southeast you have newtown. A growing cultural hub, with the market theatre, many museums etc. This is also home of the Diamond building (where a major bank recently moved in). AngloAshanti is now in their new headquarters (the refurbished power station turbine hall - an amazing office building). Also home to SciBono (a science building for school kids), SA World of Beer (not for schoolkids). The stock exchange was in this area, but moved to sandton years ago. Newtown is also relatively safe.

Newtown buidlings

Coffee at Sophiatown in newtown







AngloAshanti's new office - the turbine hall








To the Northeast you have the Art Gallery and the beautiful Joubert Park with its fountains. This might sound like the best spot in the CBD, but it is actually the worst. This is the one area I would not advice people to walk. Its neighbouring area is notorious Hillbrow - and although it is much better than a couple of years ago - it is still pretty rough. The Johannesburg Sun closed in 1998, a 500room 5star hotel. And it is in this area.

The roads are upgraded, but you can see how horrible the buildings are in this area






Braamfontein is towards the north of the CBD - and this is a wonderful highrise district with the Civic Theatre and many more small theatres, as well as the University of the Witwatersrand - one of the largest universities in the country, and a top500 university in the world. Funky and vibey, and also much better than 5years ago. Home to South African Ballet and the Constitutional Court with many public art pieces in the streets.

The CBD is huge - some areas are safe. Others are not at all. So a walk from the one side to the other will be a bit of a challenge!

Looooooooong reply, but I hope I answered your questions.
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 01:33 PM   #77
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And then, because you asked, some more CBD pictures.
Pics taken by Pule

























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Old October 23rd, 2008, 01:51 PM   #78
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Some more pics - Taken by me, Tom and Pule

The Carlton Office block - Designed by Skidmore and Owens


Old Power Station, now office - Newtown


Diagonal Street, Newtown


Upmarket Coffee shop, loveday street, Marshalltown


Cloudy day, Ghandi Square


New Refurbishment, Bree Street


Drill Hall Community Centre and Public Art Space - Joubert Park






Public Art - Braamfontein


CLosed Johannesburg Sun


Office building


Commisioner Street


Old and New - Loveday Street
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Old October 24th, 2008, 09:31 PM   #79
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Well, although it is clear that Johannesburg is not a dead city, this seems to be a pretty dead thread!
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Old October 25th, 2008, 01:08 AM   #80
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I'm here buddy, it not dead yet.........Btw do you know where the Johannesburg international thread is........was thinking of asking you guys if I could start posting some of your pic's there on a regular basis? Start bring all Jozi has to offer to the rest of Skyscrapercity.......Like what you have done here in this forum.
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