Written Urban Analysis!

In order to identify the aspects of the city that should be modified or improved, a current analysis of the city in question must be completed.  Please complete the following written urban analysis for the specific city you have chosen to re-design.  To be most effective, you can copy and paste the below template into a Google Doc or blog.  

Background Information

City Name:
Johannesburg, South Africa.  


Geographic Coordinates (Latitude and Longitude)
Latitude: 26°12′08″ S
Longitude: 28°02′37″ E


Current Population


City Size (km2)
1,645 km²


Official Language(s)
English, Zulu, Afrikaans, Sotho, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Swazi, Tswana, Tsonga, Venda, Xhosa.


Human Geography Analysis

Human geography focuses on the interactions of groups of people with their environment/ecosystem?.  One main goal of human geography is to establish how significantly humans are impacting the natural ecosystems around them.  The written urban impact analysis should focus specifically on two branches of human geography:population geography (age of population, population growth, etc) and settlement geography (how humans settle into urban and rural areas).  Please complete the following human geography analysis:

1. Natality and mortality rates - Birth Rate/Death Rate

 In South Africa,
The birth rate is: 19.14/1000 of population
The death rate is:
17.36 deaths/1,000 of population

2. Population Growth Rate

3.2% annual change (2011)

3. Life expectancy - This will probably be for the whole country.

 52.62 years (2011)


4. Population Density per square kilometer 

2364 per square kilometer.


5. Past and Projected Population Growth (20-50 yrs) - Using graphs show the population growth from the past fifty years (minimum) to continue showing the next 20 to 50 years project growth.

If we look at this graph, it shows us how the population of Johannesburg has grown from 1911 until 2011 when they had the last census. Screen Shot 2014-05-26 at 8.50.19 AM.png


If we look at the average growth rate from 1996 - 2011, the average growth rate is: 40,359,872.71 people per year. Then we can see that the population growth for the next thirty years will look something like this… (in South Africa) 5800812_f520.jpg

7. Education - In a graphs and charts, record the literacy rate for the whole population, men and women, average classroom size, percent of the population who graduates from secondary school (show whole population and men vs. women separately). 


Here is the literacy for men and women’s literacy rate for over 15 years of age.


This graph shows the amount of male and female graduates from high school on average in south africa.

In South Africa, the average amount of students in a class in South Africa are 30 students to 1 teacher.

8. Crime rate - In a graph or chart, report the amount of crimes committed vs. total population, violent crime vs. petty crime, and any other information you think is relevant.

 Offences committed:Fig1CrimeCap.gif

If we look here these are different offences that were committed and if we look at South Africa: we can see that per 100000 of the population, in South Africa there were 5065 different crimes committed.

Murders recorded:


If we look at the amount of murders committed per 100000 people of the population, In this chart, South Africa is the has the highest amount of murders. (this is a violent crime)

robberies and violent thefts: Fig3CrimeCap.gif

Here we can see that south africa has the highest amount of burglaries again with 208 burglaries per 100,000 people of the population.

serious assaults:


here we can see that south africa is up there with the second amount of the most serious assaults.

Violent Crime by gender:


Here we can see that in the past the men committed many more violent crimes  than women, but now, we can see that men are committing less crimes and then men and women commit nearly as many violent crimes as each other.

Here we can see the violent crimes in committed in South Africa per 100,000 people.



Serious Crime vs Less Serious Crime.

In South Africa, crime is so high that nobody really reports petty crime, so it is therefore hard to find statics for petty crime.
Therefore, in this graph we can see serious crime vs less serious crimes in South Africa.

Conclusion to question 8:

Looking at all of these graphs and charts we can see that in South Africa there is a lot of crime which goes on. Most of this crime is due to poverty. There are many places called shanty towns. When you are driving along the motorway, you will look out the window and suddenly, there will be tons and tons of shacks built up on the side of the road. The shacks are where very poor people live, and the houses are often made out of a tin roof and things just picked up off the side of the road which the people have had to make do with. These places have absolutely no running water, heating/air conditioning or electricity.

9. Poverty and Wealth Distribution - In a graph, report the Amount of population living under the poverty level, distribution wealth, class make-up (lower, middle, upper).  High level responses will also consider the ethnic and age breakdown of each class.  


In this graph we can see the different races of people who are living under the poverty level in South Africa. We can see that mostly the African people are the ones suffering from poverty. This is because in the time of apartheid, the black people were discriminated against and were very poor. They were the “lower race”. Now the black African people are still very poor, living in shanty towns under the poverty level.
Graph showing people living in poverty:

The percentage of total population by race who are living under the poverty level is shown above. We can see from this chart that the Indian and White population are not represented in the Ultra-Poor category. In this chart, we can see that; The African women who live in urban places are the poorest of the Ultra-Poor.


Here in this graph above we can see South Africa's distribution of wealth. We can also see that that the white people earn the most and are the most wealthy in South Africa. We can also see that the native people of South Africa, (the Black people), are earning the least and are the least wealthy. This is because, during apartheid, the black people in South Africa were discriminated against. During apartheid black people were prevented from getting certain jobs, they received very little education and could not enter university.  They therefore had less skills and opportunities.  Now that the time of apartheid has passed, it still seems that there is still an unequal distribution of wealth in the country.

In this graph we can see the different class makeups in South Africa, and we can see the amount of money earned in each class.  Visagie 2013 Table 1 FINAL.PNG


9. Tourism - In a graph or chart  identify the number of visitors per year with a breakdown of nationality, total tourism revenue, and a percentage of the economy tourism constitutes.


This is a chart of tourism in Johannesburg per year.tourism_graph2e.jpg


Here is the average amount of money a tourist in Johannesburg spends per day.


Ecosystem Impact Analysis

Ecosystems support human existence in numerous ways.  Yet, human activity is harming and even destroying the ecosystems that support them.  The goal of your Ecosystem Impact Analysis is to explain the impact that human activities have on the ecosystem.  You should explain the most direct impact of a certain activity on the ecosystem, and you should also explain how that impacts affects the rest of the ecosystem.  

For example, when humans first brought pigs to Hawai’i, the pigs were on farms.  However, the pigs escaped and their population grew tremendously in the wild since they had no predators.  The pigs have had a destructive effect on the Hawaiian ecosystem because they burrow in the ground, which destroys plants and the ground where some birds build their nests.  In another example, other insects that have arrived recently with humans are destroying 90% of the Taro vegetable crops, that Hawaiians grow for money.  This results in a loss of 90% of money that comes from the Taro crop. For each section of the ecosystem impact analysis, please include a 1-2 paragraph description outlining a historical or current impact on the ecosystem related to that issue/section.

1. Regional Agriculture

If we look at agriculture in Johannesburg it is important to note that before there were farms there, there was grassland.


The above graph shows the different ecosystems in South Africa.

Grasslands are ecosystems composed of: “A biological community that contains few trees or shrubs, is characterized by mixed herbaceous (nonwoody) vegetation cover, and is dominated by grasses or grass like plants,” (Farlex Dictionary).

Humans can cause many different disturbances when creating farms on grasslands. When they need to clear all of the grass to create their farms, they kill different animal’s habitats, this is called habitat destruction. For example, buffalo, elephants, badgers, armadillos and many insects live in grasslands and when the humans came and cut away all of the grass and began creating their farms and clearing the area the animals had to relocate. This is a direct impact on the ecosystem.

Natural and human disturbances to grassland areas can cause changes within this particular ecosystems environment. Landslides, flash floods, windstorms, harvesting, planting and hunting are activities that have affected the organisms and landscapes within this type of ecosystem. Animals that graze in grasslands can also help to erode the territory if they overfeed. Urban development, agricultural production and invasive plants are all factors that work to destroy grasslands. These are indirect impacts.

Read more: http://www.ehow.com/facts_7446349_grasslands-ecosystem_.html#ixzz32uWCLz3C 

2. Water Issues (Consumption and Quality/Pollution)

If we look at drinking water in Johannesburg, we can look at different dams that the people in Johannesburg use for drinking water, and we can see, for example:

The Lesotho Highlands Project
Vaal Dam
Katse dam

Hartbeespoort dam is a dam which supplies water to a place called “Tshwane” which is a suburb of  Johannesburg. This dam is being polluted. Sewage is being poured into the dam which is causing prolific growth of algae and one can begin to see the side affects of this:
the results of this are there for all to see. Hartbeespoort Dam, a source of drinking water for Tshwane, has turned into a green pea-soup like confinement of water. The natural sediment in this dam is 17% but sits at 32% at present,” (Cllr Ralf Bitkau).

This dam is located above a river which meanders through ‘Brits Valley’. The algae which is growing on Hartbeespoort dam due to the sewage being poured into the dam, is spilling over the side of the dam into the river. Brits Valley, is one of Johannesburg's main vegetable suppliers, and when the algae dies it becomes EXTREMELY toxic. Some of the algae is getting to the vegetables and drying on them. This means that the dead and highly toxic algae is getting to the people of Johannesburg who are getting sick after they eat the vegetables. (Cllr Ralf Bitkau).

The direct impact of the sewage in the Hartbeespoort dam, is the algae growing on top of the dam. The indirect impact of this is the algae reaching the vegetables and making them toxic.


 3. Urban Development

The reason Johannesburg is a city today is because of gold. Gold was discovered in Johannesburg in 1886. There was a gold rush. People from all over the world came in search of the gold. The people needed food so they began creating farms. They then needed transport to bring the gold, food, resources and people, to and from different places, and therefore they needed roads. They kept building and building until eventually they had a city.

The urbanization of johannesburg has harmed the natural ecosystem because before anything was built in Johannesburg, it was grassland.  Now when you go into the city, it is densely packed, full of concrete and there is hardly any wildlife. There would have been  buffalo, elephants, badgers, armadillos and many insects before the people came and destroyed their habitats. Many of these animals would have had to move or relocate because of urbanisation.

An indirect impact of building the city was animal death or relocation because of habitat destruction. A direct impact of the gold rush was building the city.  

4. Energy Needs (Fossil fuels, natural gas, nuclear and hydropower)

 Total energy needs in South Africa: Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 8.58.50 PM.pngScreen Shot 2014-05-31 at 8.31.52 AM.png

Here we have the primary sources of energy in South Africa. We can see that they only use 3% renewable energy.

When we use fossil fuels, in say our cars or factories, greenhouse gasses are released into the atmosphere and this damages the earth’s ozone layer. The ozone layer, is a layer of ozone around the earth which absorbs most of the suns radiation as it hits the planet.

The hole in the ozone layer is causing global warming.

Global warming is an indirect impact of air pollution. Air pollution is a direct impact of using fossil fuels.

5. Production and Processing of Waste

Johannesburg produces more than 1.8 million tons of waste a year. Which is bad for the environment because only a very small portion of it is recycled. Some of the programs they have in place are good,  for example “BeauTi-FueL” whereby they take some of the rubbish, and they then turn the rubbish into energy. They burn the waste in order to make the energy, but this is still harming the environment because of the gas emissions which are still taking place. This therefore helps reduce the amount of waste put out into the ecosystem but it increases the air pollution. They still need to recycle more and get rid of landfills. There are four different landfills in Johannesburg.

In addition to human waste there is waste from industry.  For example, wherever you drive, you will see huge mounds of gold coloured sand called gold dumps. When the people of Johannesburg started mining the gold, they didn’t have the correct technology to get all of the gold out of the sand. So they put the sand, still with bits of gold in it, in big dumps. This is a form of waste. But now the people are starting to sift through the mine dumps again, now that we have the correct technology to get the rest of the gold out of the sand.


6. Air Quality/Pollution

Screen Shot 2014-05-31 at 11.25.24 AM.png

Screen Shot 2014-05-31 at 11.25.34 AM.png

If we look at these two images we can see that there is quite a lot of air pollution in Johannesburg. At the moment it is ranked 7th in the most polluted city in the world. Air pollution can be very harmful if one is exposed to large concentrations of it. We can see a direct impact of being exposed to large concentrations of air pollution below:

The WHO estimates that air pollution killed 3.7 million people prematurely in 2012 around the world.

Most of these people died from strokes, heart disease, lung cancer, respiratory infections and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.”

If a person becomes sick because of air pollution, one of the indirect impacts this can have on the government, is they have to pay for health care which costs a lot of money. Another indirect impact one can look at, is the families who have a loved one who has either died or become sick because of air pollution.

Another example of air pollution and it impacts are: how the air pollution is affecting the ozone layer causing global warming. For example, in antarctica, the icecaps are melting and this is causing the polar bears to die because their habitat is being destroyed. Refer back to the question on Energy Needs for more information on the ozone layer depletion.

In-Depth Environmental Study

Please select one specific environmental issue from the list above to explore in further detail.  This issue will be one that should be significantly addressed/improved upon in your re-designed city plan.  A thorough in-depth study could include:

Environmental Issue = Water Issues.

Hartbeespoort Dam and Brits Valley

The problems with sewage dumping and algae growth on Haartebeestpoort dam are discussed in question 2, water issues, above.  We can see from it that humans are basically harming themselves because THEY are dumping the sewage into the dam, and then the vegetables that THEY are eating are making THEM sick.

As well as this, in the Hartbeespoort dam, because of the pollution, other species of fish are in the dam. For example; catfish, carp  and the canary kurper are not wanted in the dam. The fish that are wanted there are; the yellow fish species and the mozambique tilapia. Below, Mr. Venter will explain what they are trying to do to get the unwanted fish out of the dam.

“Mr Venter says a crucial element of the programme is to restore the nutrient balance in the dam. The food web plays an important role in this and can only be achieved if the trophic status in Hartbeespoort Dam has been restored. At present the dam is dominated by the coarse species, namely Catfish, Carp and Canary Kurper.
Mr Venter explained that the sun, which is an important source of energy, stimulates the nutrients in the water and causes the algae and hyacinths to grow. As they die, some of them sink and the bottom feeders, namely the Catfish and the Carp, feed on the dead material in the sediment. The result of their actions stirs up the sediment which causes the cycle of nutrient enrichment to repeat itself. “This shows that through the removal of the Catfish and Carp the food web can be restored”, he said.”

(Mr Venter)

The direct impact of the sewage dumping is that the algae which feeds on the sun and sewage is being eaten by the unwanted fish.  The fish are stirring up the nutrients at the bottom of dam and the cycle of the algae is beginning again. The direct impact of the sewage is the algae, the direct impact of the algae is unwanted fish species increasing in population and the desired fish are decreasing.

Mines in Johannesburg:

In Johannesburg in 2010 there was rising poisonous mine water. The polluted water was due to the all of the work being done in the mines. This would have affected the ecosystem because if the acidic water level kept rising, it would leach into the water table consequently animals or humans would have drunk this water, because it would have founds its way into the drinking source. Humans and animals could have been poisoned due to the acidic water having risen from the mines. At the moment they are trying to fix the problem by pumping the water out of the mines.

Acid water is formed underground when old shafts and tunnels fill up. The water oxidises with the sulphide mineral iron pyrite, better known as fool's gold. The water then fills the mine and starts decanting into the environment, in a process known as acid mine drainage.” (Rising Acid Water).

The acid water was rising roughly 0.6 or 0.9 meters a day and within 18 months if they hadn’t sorted the problem, Johannesburg’s water basin would have been flooded with the acidic water.

Therefore one can see that the direct impacts of the mining is the acidic water. The indirect impacts of this would be how the drinking water would have been affected.

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