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Johannesburg and the surrounding Gauteng region is the economic heartland of South Africa, with a rapidly expanding metropolitan cluster. Much peri-urban development is in new middle class enclaves, with high security and car-dependency. Older townships are also scattered across an arid landscape with few services or opportunities. Climate change hazards of heat, drought and wildfire, are wrapped into current and historic social-economic vulnerabilities, inequalities and fractures.

(Urban area of Johannesburg)

Population city-region                                - 8.000m
Land area city-region                                  - 3357km2
Density city-region                                      - 2383 pp/km2
Population city-region change                  -

Johannesburg region

(World Bank data - – for Gauteng

Extreme heat                                                - medium
Wildfire                                                          - HIGH
Water scarcity                                              - medium
River flood                                                    - low
Urban flood                                                  - low
Coastal flood                                                -
Cyclone                                                          - low
Tsunami                                                         -
Landslide                                                       - very low
Earthquake                                                   - medium
Volcano                                                         -


Economic type                                             - upper middle income
GDP /pp city-region                                    - US$16,370 pp
HDI                                                                 - 0.75

(national level data)

Welfare regime (BTI)                           - 6

Control of corruption (SPI)                - 4.3
Access to justice (WGI)                       - 7.7


Organisations, Programmes, and Projects

Johannesburg, C40 Cities

Description: city profile and case studies

Gauteng City-Region Observatory

Description: research network between universities and governments with topics such as sustainability and landscapes

Sustainability, South African Cities Network

Description: sustainable cities theme of a knowledge-sharing platform

Reports and Policies

Climate Change Adaptation Plan 2009, City of Johannesburg

Description: risk and vulnerabilities assessment with actions

Climate Change Strategic Framework, City of Johannesburg and Ecometrix

Description: organizational analysis, framework and roadmap

Growth and Development Strategy Joburg 2040, City of Johannesburg

Description: uses a resilience approach for various sectors such as the environment and resource sustainability

Academic Articles

Hetz, Karen, & Hetz, Karen. (2016). Contesting adaptation synergies: Political realities in reconciling climate change adaptation with urban development in Johannesburg, South Africa. Regional Environmental Change, 16(4), 1171-1182.

Description: qualitative case stud of urban planning and flooding

Bobbins, K. and C. Culwick. (2015). Green growth transitions through a green infrastructure approach at the local government level: case study for the Gauteng City-Region. Journal of Public Administration, 50(1), 32-49.

Description: potential for GI to address climate change and contribute to green growth in the region

Fatti, CE, & Vogel, C. (2011). Is science enough? Examining ways of understanding, coping with and adapting to storm risks in Johannesburg. Water S. A., 37(1)

Description: proposes interactive approaches based on storm trends

Schaffler, A., & Swilling, M. (2013). Valuing green infrastructure in an urban environment under pressure — The Johannesburg case. Ecological Economics, 86, 246-257

Description: socio-ecological approach to urban infrastructure

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