The Future of Johannesburg's Mining Landscapes

Gold mining was an integral part of what made the city of Johannesburg, South Africa one of the most economically important cities on the continent. But as mining winds down, some are trying to find new ways to use the landscape of mining operations.

From informal communities planting themselves on former mine land to drive in movie theaters, these very central plots of land are being reused in many ways, as Dorothy Tang and Andrew Watkins write in this essay for Places.

"In January 2010 we traveled to Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni to study the rapidly changing mining belt. We visited eight informal settlements, numerous mine dumps, the nearly complete FIFA World Cup Stadium, gold processing plants, and even a defunct-mine-turned-theme-park called Gold Reef City. Through our discussions with informal settlers, non-profit organizations, government officials, academics, real estate developers, mining experts and mine operators, we uncovered a complex web of ecologies that will determine the future of the gold mining belt. Our investigation documents the relationships between the current mining operations, the infrastructure that supports them and the informal settlements that inhabit defunct mining sites. In this slideshow, we hope to show that these relationships open up possibilities for the rehabilitation of a post-gold industrial landscape into a socially, economically and environmentally productive urban environment."

Full Story: Ecologies of Gold: The Past and Future Mining Landscapes of Johannesburg


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