It has been confirmed, Johannesburg is a world class African city.
According to the 2014 Good City Index, Jozi is the second-most inspiring city in the world – after Hong Kong.
In a study conducted by the global Good magazine, Joburg scored the highest points in all categories the publication uses to rank cities. These included categories such as being a Hub of Progress, City Engagement, Street Life, Defining Moments, Connectivity, Green Life, Diversity and Work Life Balance.
The metropolitan City is one of only three African cities to feature in the magazine's Top 20 list. The others included Nairobi in Kenya, which is perched at number five, and Dakar in Senegal is in position nine.
The results were based on data culled by the magazine’s editors and solicited from a network of global correspondents.
Joburg Executive Mayor Parks Tau says: "Indeed, this is a humbling accolade. Particularly because it comes in less than a month after the 2014 MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index announced us, the City of Johannesburg, as the most popular destination city in Africa for a second consecutive year."
"This shows that our efforts as a city at work to promote socio-economic transformation are making an impact, not only locally, but also internationally, "he says.
"As we move towards the commemoration of the passing of our beloved freeman of Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela, on December 5, I am reminded of his words today that indeed, these surveys are testament to the City being a 'centre of our country's prosperity', providing that much needed opportunity to create a better life for all who live and visit it," Mayor Tau says.
The Good magazine’s editors describe the Good City Index as “a celebration of the 50 cities around the world that best capture the elusive quality of possibility”.
Johannesburg-based writer Sylvia EK McKeown says in her commentary that “it’s to Joburg’s advantage that, distracted by Cape Town, people don’t seem to pay as much attention to it as they should”.
By occupying the second spot on the Good City Index, Johannesburg has outclassed cities such as Mexico City (third place), New Orleans in the United States (seventh), Montreal in Canada (12th), Melbourne in Australia (14th), Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (19th) and Seoul in South Korea (20th) as far as the creation of inspiration is concerned.
Paris occupies the 22nd spot, Cape Town 25th, Atlanta 30th and Warsaw 50th.
Some of the things that swayed the votes of judges in Joburg’s way include the urban regeneration projects the City is undertaking, such as bike lanes in Soweto, a mixed-use development in the once-rundown area of Newtown and the Joburg Art Fair.
Writes McKeown: “Not that there aren’t many systemic problems in Joburg: crime, poverty, dubious political spending, and a lack of infrastructure and proper sanitation, just to name a few.
But the city is good at finding new, sometimes unorthodox ways to fix itself - like freeing owls to hunt rats in the townships and starting a youth photography skills development programme named ‘I was shot in Joburg’.”
One of the things that stand out for her in the city is Braamfontein, “the perfect illustration of a racially integrated South Africa; a breeding ground of creativity and innovation packed full of galleries, artist spaces, bars and start-ups focused on making meaningful connections with the man on the street”.
Featuring high on the list of aspects that make Johannesburg an inspiring city, include the Inner City Metro; the Newtown Junction; the City’s creative solution to rats infestation in Alexandra; the 5km bicycle track and sidewalk in Orlando East, Soweto.
Projects such as the Diepsloot Mountain Biking Academy; Dlala Nje, a space encouraging children from three of Joburg’s most insular, impoverished, and misunderstood areas in the inner city to come together; and Maboneng’s newest bar have also raised the bar for positive ratings of the City.