This is how many people travel into Sandton, Centurion and Midrand every day

The Gauteng City Region Observatory (GCRO) has released a new series of maps showing where people in Gauteng live and work.

The maps are based on the daily shifts in concentrations of population by night and by day – as modelled by GeoTerraImage.

While the GCRO noted that these maps could not account for all movements of people, it was possible to make a number of interesting observations.

  • Night time populations are concentrated in CBDs and in townships such as Soshanguve, Mamelodi, Atteridgeville, Diepsloot, Tembisa, Alexandra, Soweto, Khutsong, Katlehong and Orange Farm. Middle-class suburbs do have visible populations but they are spread across a larger area.
  • There are a number of concentrations that grow more pronounced during the day, such as Centurion, Midrand, Sandton, and Vanderbijlpark. During the day people also cluster in CBDs, areas adjacent to CBDs, and a number of other commercial, industrial, retail and educational nodes. Figure 2 shows, for example, that Midrand grows by 57% each day. It also shows that almost 130,000 people travel into Sandton each day.
  • Townships lose some of their populations during the day. Each morning, for example, there is a net outflow of 29% of Diepsloot’s night time population. In sheer numbers, Soweto has particularly dramatic flows, with almost 380,000 people leaving during the day.
  • Although townships do lose some of their populations during the day, very large numbers of people stay in townships. Many of these are learners, retired people and people working locally. However, Map 3 shows that workers are not concentrated in townships during the day. A proportion of those staying in townships during the day would be unemployed working age people.
  • These representations are suggestive of a spatial mismatch between where people live and where people work. The legacy of apartheid has undeniably created a division between dormitory spaces and economic spaces, resulting in the need for enormous infrastructure to support flows of people each day.


Map 1

Map 1 shows the population at night, which largely reflects the residential patterns previously seen in the GCRO’s 2013 residential map.

Map 2

Map 2 shows where populations are concentrated during the day, including where people work and study.

Map 3

Map 3 shows a subset of the day time population, specifically the location of workers.


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This is how many people travel into Sandton, Centurion and Midrand every day