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Uniting a Divided City: governance and social exclusion in Johannesburg

Jo Beall
Earthscan (July 2002)

For many people, Johannesburg has become the imagined spectre of our urban future. Global anxieties about catastrophic urban explosion, social fracture, environmental degradation, escalating crime and violence and rampant consumerism alongside grinding poverty, are projected onto this city whose fate has implications and resonance way beyond its borders.

Decision-makers in cities worldwide have attempted to balance harsh fiscal and administrative realities with growing demands for political, economic and social justice. Uniting a Divided City investigates pragmatic approaches to urban economic development, service delivery, spatial restructuring, environmental sustainability and institutional reform in Johannesburg. It explores the conditions and processes that could determine the city's transformation into a cosmopolitan metropolis and magnet for the continent.


  • Johannesburg: an exemplar of the urban challenge
  • Mapping social, economic and environmental complexity
  • Building institutions for democratic urban governance
  • Negotiating urban development policy and resources
  • Social differentiation and social healing in Soweto
  • Strangers in the night: migrants and the changing face of urban community in the inner city
  • Cementing community influence: civic participation in Johannesburg's informal settlements 


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