Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Sandton is a northern suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa in the Gauteng Province. The name comes from the combination of two suburbs, Sandown and Bryanston, both of which were named after places in the United Kingdom.
The municipality was established as an extension of the city in 1969, after Johannesburg began to expand northwards. After the demise of Apartheid and the manifestation of the new political dispensation, Sandton became part of the Greater Johannesburg metropolitan area following new demarcations put forward by the government.
It has become the new financial centre of South Africa and Johannesburg's premier business centre. Much of the financial focus of Johannesburg has shifted from the Central Business District to Sandton, especially in the last 15 years. Only South Africa's four largest banks have kept their head offices in downtown Johannesburg, as well as Transnet , the transport parastatal.
But much of the "new money" has moved north to Sandton, including investment banks, financial consultants and the like. A considerable amount of the city's A-grade office space is to be found in Sandton. The JSE Securities Exchange, Johannesburg's stock exchange, relocated its offices to Sandton from the Central Business District in the late 1990s. Sandton's gain was the central business district's loss: it resulted in urban blight and "white flight" of the downtown Johannesburg area.
Sandton is home to the Sandton Convention Centre, one of the largest convention centres on the continent and primary site of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (also known as "Rio + 10"), which Johannesburg hosted. The convention centre also hosted the African National Congress' victory celebrations after the party won the 2004 elections.
One of the main attractions in Sandton is Sandton City, which ranks among the largest shopping centres in Africa. Together with Nelson Mandela Square, the centre, with some 144,000mē of shopping space, is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, larger than Sydney's Westfield Parramatta or Melbourne's Westfield Southland centres. Much of Johannesburg's business tourism is centred on Sandton, which has a string of 5-star hotels.
Nelson Mandela Square, formerly known as Sandton Square, was renamed in March 2004, after the unveiling of a 6-metre bronze statue of the former president, arguably South Africa's greatest statesman. Perhaps ironically, Liliesleaf Farm, where Mandela and other political activists were arrested in the 1960s and tried as part of the now infamous Rivonia Trial, is north of Nelson Mandela Square, close to the N1 freeway, off Rivonia Road. The area is now home to massive office parks and other developments, and little remains of the farm.
The Sandton area is one of the most opulent and wealthy in Johannesburg and South Africa, but not far away from Alexandra, one of the poorest former black townships. This is evidenced by the new 140-metre tall Michelangelo Towers, which will offer Manhattan-style living in Johannesburg. The new apartment block will be the fourth-tallest building in Johannesburg and local newspaper the Sunday Times reports that the top-selling penthouse apartment was sold for R28 million (around $5 million).
Concerns have been raised as to whether Sandton has the necessary road and water infrastructure to sustain the massive development that is characteristic of Johannesburg.
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