Hillbrow is the inner city residential neighbourhood of Johannesburg, Gauteng Province, South Africa. It is known for its high levels of population density, unemployment, poverty and crime. In the 1970s it was an Apartheid-designated 'whites only' area but soon became a 'grey area', where people of different ethnicities lived together. It acquired a cosmopolitan and politically progressive feel but unfortunately due to poor planning its infrastructure could not cope with the rapid population growth. This, together with lack of investment and political instability led to an eflux of middle class residents in the 1980s and the decay of major buildings, leaving in its wake an urban slum by the 1990s. Today the majority of the residents are migrants from the townships, rural areas and the rest of Africa (particularly Nigeria), many living in abject poverty. An urban regeneration programme is underway. There are street markets, mainly used by local residents, and the Johannesburg Art Gallery contains work by major local artists including William Kentridge.
The building is distinct both due to its height, rising to 54 storeys above one of the highest points in Johannesburg, as well as its cylindrical shape. During its prime, Ponte City was one of the city's most sought-after addresses, but with inner-city urban decay setting in, it has become run-down, over-populated and unsafe. The building was placed under new management in 1999, and with regular maintenance reinstated and gradual restoration, coupled with council, provincial and government initiatives to rehabilitate Hillbrow, it is beginning to find some shine again.
hillbrow community policing forum: reclaiming the neighbourhood; "A few years ago, Hillbrow was ranked number one in the country for all types of crime. This year we are ranked fourth for all major crimes." - Director Danie Louw.(News)
Sep 29, 2006; BYLINE: Lee Rondganger Gun-toting robbers running amok, drug deals in full view of helpless police, rape and murder. These are...
Urban decay in Joburg's Bronx creates a living paradox; How did Hillbrow go from chic to slumin just 17 years? asks Justine Gerardy.(News)
Nov 22, 2008; The view of the neighbours from San Michel offers Hillbrow's worst cliche: a skin-crawling glimpse of urban gangrene. In...