Famous for its jacaranda-lined streets, the City of Tshwane is a complex and dynamic area. The city's urban pattern has been shaped by past apartheid policies, as well as by market forces and prominent natural features. It is a dual city in which formal, well developed core co-exists with an extensive, low-income, poorly developed and dependent periphery.
Prominent ridges running east-west through the Tshwane area have created valleys in which development was channelled in the same direction, due to limited north-south accessibility. The city's status as administrative capital has led to relative affluence, and there are many historical buildings, monuments and large tracts of government and parastatal owned land occupied by the defence force. Generally, this land is under-utilised, while its location means it has large potential for infill and economic development.
While the city developed around a strong central core, natural constraints led to the establishment of secondary nodes to the north (Akasia, Rosslyn), east (Menlyn) and south (Centurion) of the CBD. Other nodes have developed along major arterials, giving rise to the existing polycentric structure. Inter-connectedness is limited due to the absence of a fully fledged ring-road system. North-south access exists in the central and eastern areas, but the proposed Western Bypass has still to be built.
The more affluent population is concentrated in the southern and south-eastern sectors of the city. The bulk of the previously disadvantaged population is concentrated in the north-western sector of the metropolitan area and in Atteridgeville and Mamelodi. The highest concentration of poor households is to be found in the Winterveldt, Hammanskraal and Temba, followed closely by Soshanguve, Mamelodi and Mabopane.
It seems that economic development will prevail in the south and east of the city, where decentralised, high-technology, information industries and warehousing are expanding rapidly. The injection of capital and infrastructure in these areas is vital for the economic stability and growth of the city. However, the inner city, with government, retail and entertainment functions, and the location of much employment, is important, and drastic intervention is needed to reverse the recent deterioration.