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Smart cities and the quality of life in post-apartheid Gauteng

- Deborah Minors

The Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO) is a partnership between Wits, the University of Johannesburg and the Gauteng provincial and local government.

The mandate of the GCRO is to help build the knowledge base that government, business, civil society and residents need to make the Gauteng City-Region competitive, spatially integrated, environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive.

“Smart cities are an increasingly important research focus for the GCRO as Gauteng and its municipalities explore advanced technologies to streamline service delivery, enhance revenue collection, and better manage urban environments. This provides the opportunity for the GCRO to launch its new online and interactive products,” says Prof. Rob Moore, Executive Director of the GCRO.

The revamped GCRO website was launched in August 2015. The website makes data available through innovative applications such as the GIS Interactive Website (2nd generation), the Urban Observatory Website and the Ward-profile Viewer. The popular Map of the Month, Vignettes and Interactive Visualisations also bring data to life.

The quality of life in post-apartheid Gauteng

In 2015 the GCRO produced its fourth, largest and most ambitious iteration of the Quality of Life (QoL) Survey.

The 2015 QoL survey included 30 000 in-depth interviews across all quarters of the City-Region and probes both the material conditions and the less tangible dimensions of what it means to live in Gauteng in the post-apartheid era.

The survey explores issues of the economy, employment, transport, crime, health and perceptions of government. It probes perceptions of race relations, community cohesion and the degree to which inhabitants feel included in societal processes.

This latest QoL survey saw unprecedented buy-in from the three metropolitan municipalities with requests to further deepen the granularity of data generated.

Read more about research at Wits and the GCRO QoL survey specifically on pg. 56 in Wits Research Matters.