Johannesburg region: location

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

Johannesburg region

Johannesburg region: overview

Johannesburg is a vibrant city region expanding into a semi-arid bush landscape: isolated enclaves overlaid on apartheid-era townships: growing water stress, heat stress and forest depletion, in a divided & vulnerable society.

Peri-urban syndromes: legacy of apartheid-era townships lacking connections, services & livelihoods: rapid low density expansion with high-security enclaves: ongoing disruption of rural livelihoods in the hinterland:

Climate change risks: growing water stress, drought & extreme heat days: forest fire with depletion of forest in hinterland: urban heat island & air pollution:

Societal vulnerability: growing structural inequalities & social tensions: fragile bush landscape, soil & ecosystems: growing water stress & urban-rural competition:

Governance syndromes: general institutional inertia & multi-level fragmentation: elite & corporate capture: active civil society lacks connections: little climate awareness & policy so far:

Adaptive pathways: integrated water management, design for heat & drought: agro-ecology & food democracy: landscape diversity & multi-functional land-use: decolonization agenda for peri-urban livelihoods: climate-wise peri-urban real estate & development patterns.

Adaptive governance: capacity building for government & public services: collaborative-associative governance with civil society: community grassroots initiatives

Johannesburg region: where is the peri-urban?

Joburg where periurban.png

Johannesburg region: system mapping

system mapping 19.JPG

Johannesburg region: summary data

(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

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