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View Poll Results: Which city is better?
Mexico City 20 83.33%
Johannesburg 4 16.67%
Voters: 24. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-09-2018, 06:50 AM
 
3,419 posts, read 2,506,563 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OyCrumbler View Post
What are some good things about Johannesburg? I'm not familiar with the place.
I feel somewhat qualified to answer this, though not fully. I haven't personally visited (though South Africa is up there on the list of places I hope to get at some point), but I do have a friend living in Johannesburg that has talked to me quite a bit about life in the city. Positives?

-It does seem to be a financial and social hub for a decent portion of the continent. People mention Sandton City, which is true, but I believe it has a number of other relatively-very affluent areas as well particularly in the north (and Pretoria which basically is close enough to be the same metro, and has political functions, has some too). It might have more of these (at least as a pct. of city) than Mexico City, and these 'might' feel safer than anywhere similar in Mexico City. Just the general vibe I got from talking with them would surely suggest that while there is certainly rampant poverty and not so nice sections, there is also a much larger middle-upper class there than outsiders would perceive. Perhaps someone more familiar with the population can comment more on how significant this presence is, but on HDI, Joburg is about the same as Bosnia and Herzegovina (I believe arguably the highest ranking city in likely Africa's highest ranking country), has the highest overall GDP of any city in Africa (at least right now), and a per capita GDP of 18,918$, which puts it ahead of probably any African city, and also in front of a number of Eastern European and Latin American cities in this regard.

-I see that a number of South African cities are listed among the world's most dangerous, but here is my thing about that. I'm not suggesting that crime stats don't say what they do, but that South Africa is organized and established enough a country to actually report urban crime stats unlike a number of others. Bear in mind that a number of US cities (Detroit, New Orleans, Saint Louis, etc.) are also up in those 50 most dangerous lists, but at the same time, especially when considering the region and safer portions of those cities, I wouldn't necessarily say that is the overall local experience.

-It can be an outdoor hub or at least base, of sorts. First of all, the climate at least looks pretty fantastic. There isn't a single month where the average high is below 60, or above 80, meaning 12 months of being able to "do things" outside (Mexico City has this too, but I think it's still notable). It also is likely where I would fly first when going to Victoria Falls, or Cape Town, or the Namib Desert, or other scenic spots in the southern half of the continent. Safari however, can actually be reached by bus tour directly from the Metropolitan area. Kruger, several hours from Joburg was ranked by Hillman as the 3rd best safari in the world behind those in the Serengeti plain, and some even believe it to be the best. There's also a healthy range of mountains surrounding Johannesburg, including slightly further out (still within a few hours drive), the very picturesque Drakensberg Range.

-http://www.travelstart.co.za/blog/fun-things-to-do-in-johannesburg-under-r200/ This list, along with perhaps some better ones with more searching would probably give some ideas as to Johannesburg's attractions. I wouldn't exactly call the place a global cultural or historical hot spot, by any stretch, but it looks like there's a healthy amount of offerings especially considering you get a two-for-one with Pretoria right there also. You basically have every type of cultural institution in at least some form, plenty of shopping both market and mall based, an amusement park, interesting outdoor parks, very well known sporting venues (watching rugby or cricket could be a new experience to someone visiting this area). I think the history is relatively interesting also, with some evidence that humanity as we know it originated here (Origins Centre: https://www.wits.ac.za/origins/), sights significant to Apartheid/Civil Rights History (and even SoWeTo, which appears to be friendly enough for tourists to visit and would certainly be an experience), Colonial History (and the gradual process of South African independence), and all the unique cityscape and formation coming from all that.

-In general, it is a very diverse city in terms of the variety of human experience that is lived out here on a number of levels, different languages spoken, historical settlements, types of activities available, food, etc, all set against a place that has excellent weather and a very scenic surrounding area. I know full well that I'm not going to find a Paris or New York, or anything like it upon visiting there if/when I have the chance, and I'm okay with that, because I know a number of things I see there would be equally fascinating and unlike anything else I have witnessed in my travels so far. Probably, many people skip over Joburg to other parts of South Africa, but based on the offerings I've read about in the area, if I go, I certainly plan to spend at least 3-4 days in the area.

For a resident? I've heard there are a number of issues present there (income inequality, crime, etc.), and compared to Mexico City it certainly lacks the urban form that the OP was seeking. Personally, for a visit, Mexico City is simply outstanding, I would argue nearly unrivaled in the Americas or in the world in terms of the sheer amount of human experience/vibrancy to be had there, and thus it may outrank Joburg on a number of the criteria. But I wanted to delve into Joburg a bit more because it seems underappreciated or just ignored. Living is different from visiting. Is Mexico City actually SAFER than Johannesburg? I think it would be hard to get a definitive answer, hopefully someone more well versed than me can comment. I never particularly felt unsafe while in Mexico City (though the few times I was a bit off the beaten path, I noticed, and did feel a bit wary though nothing happened). Safety is based on a number of criteria, and one safety advantage in S.A. for me at least initially is that I might stand out a bit less due to being able to communicate directly with more of the English speaking population right away, that can certainly play an impact in safety. I haven't been on the ground enough in S.A. to comment on safety around various areas, but I'd imagine some business centers are sort of sectioned off from the city so residents can "live/work/play" in Sandton or similar secure environment (that said, Polanco, Santa Fe and Reforma I suppose could fit a similar role in MC). Mexico City has a lower homicide rate than that of 2/3rds of US cities, but that doesn't necessarily indicate full safety, or even that it is necessarily safer than anywhere in the US. Mexico City's homicide rate at last update (though it could have risen) was 8.4 per 100,000, whereas Joburg's was 33.3 per 100,000, but I'm not certain about 100% of those crime stats validity, and while I'd say one is perfectly safe in Mexico City's center, you still certainly have to be somewhat wary IMO, and I say that as someone who loves the place and would go back in a heartbeat.

In general, there are safer regions in the world to live/work that are still affordable. But remember this: The American driving fatality rate is 11.59/100K at most recent check. Suicide has a rate of 13.42/100K. Heart Disease has a rate at 197.2/100K. So, perhaps people are worrying about the wrong things at times, no? Take care, perhaps contact someone who is a local on the ground in the place you are looking to visit/live, and read about/take precautions (don't be stupid). But, don't let fear keep you from living your life.
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Old 07-09-2018, 10:24 AM
 
274 posts, read 97,931 times
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-Safety (This is number 1 to me) If you're big on safety, I would really drop Mexico City and Johannesburg since both score pretty bad in the crime department.


- Public Transit Maybe MC, but I wouldn't recommend using public transportation in neither places.
- Cost of Living (Housing mostly) It can be low, but since safety is an issue for you it would be high, i.e. gated communities.
- Job Opportunities Johannesburg
- Shopping Both have good options as long as you can afford them.
- Nightlife Tie
- Diversity Johannesburg all the way. South Africa is home to different African ethnicities, but also Afrikaners, Dutch, English, Indians, Portuguese. On the other hand foreigners in Mexico City are far and few between.
- Urban Environments While both have very and very bad parts, I would say that overall Johannesburg is better, cleaner. Though MC has some decent areas, large chunks of it are really terrible.


Overall, I wouldn't pick any of these 2 cities, but if I had to, I would go with Johannesburg without a doubt.
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Old 07-09-2018, 03:57 PM
 
Location: NYntarctica
11,234 posts, read 5,622,746 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtt99 View Post
Mexico is NOT safe as long as the drug cartels run the show. It's a corrupt, hopeless society desperately trying to move in with their norther neighbor.
Still a lower homicide rate than Johannesburg. Don't confuse Mexico City with some of the more troublesome places like Ciudad Juarez or Tijuana
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Old 07-09-2018, 04:02 PM
 
Location: NYntarctica
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South Africa might be developed by African standards, but it's no comparison for anywhere in Latin America. Even lowly Bolivia (poorest country in South America) has a higher Human Development Index than South Africa. Mexico is comfortably more developed than SAR. Mexico also has a life expectancy of 76.7 years, while South Africa's is only 62.9. Massive difference
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Old 07-09-2018, 09:01 PM
 
Location: Valdosta (Atlanta Native)
3,419 posts, read 2,768,608 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iron_stick View Post
-Safety (This is number 1 to me) If you're big on safety, I would really drop Mexico City and Johannesburg since both score pretty bad in the crime department.


- Public Transit Maybe MC, but I wouldn't recommend using public transportation in neither places.
- Cost of Living (Housing mostly) It can be low, but since safety is an issue for you it would be high, i.e. gated communities.
- Job Opportunities Johannesburg
- Shopping Both have good options as long as you can afford them.
- Nightlife Tie
- Diversity Johannesburg all the way. South Africa is home to different African ethnicities, but also Afrikaners, Dutch, English, Indians, Portuguese. On the other hand foreigners in Mexico City are far and few between.
- Urban Environments While both have very and very bad parts, I would say that overall Johannesburg is better, cleaner. Though MC has some decent areas, large chunks of it are really terrible.


Overall, I wouldn't pick any of these 2 cities, but if I had to, I would go with Johannesburg without a doubt.
Just to clear some things up, Iím looking for a place to study abroad at, and maybe later live for a while, but Iím not staying permanently. As far as safety goes, Iím thinking about relative safety. I know itís not as safe as the US, and Iím okay with that, I just donít want my life to be endangered, theft isnít an issue to me. I also understand that crime rates wonít affect me as much as the locals, many of who live in really poor conditions.
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Old 07-10-2018, 03:45 AM
 
3,419 posts, read 2,506,563 times
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^ Another salient point. Much crime in Mexico City is centered in certain lower income areas, and while I'm sure there is a decent bit that happens in other areas also, there are many portions of the city that are even relatively middle class in which I wouldn't feel particularly worried. Our friend that we visited there lives somewhat within range of the Galerias Insurgentes Mall (I believe the neighborhood is called Mixcoac, though it's actually a bit east of that), and felt very safe wandering in some of that stretch (that might be more on the upper class end, but certainly there are a number of more exclusive neighborhoods within MC than this even that I saw within our 5 days there). That's actually a relatively nice area to start looking right there, with metro connections, some cultural spots, plenty of shopping and various other needs, parks, sporting and other entertainment venues, etc.

-In some ways, I would feel safer living in MC than a good number of American cities thanks to the constant bustle, the constant police presence, and the fact that there is a significant professional middle/upper class community living within the urban confines.
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Old 07-17-2018, 05:39 PM
 
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Mexico vs. South Africa travel risk level by country, mostly from 1 (low) to 4 (extreme). May include regions with different levels (see parentheses)-
---
AUS (1-4)-

MEX: 2 (+3)
ZAF: 2
---
CAN (1-4)-

MEX: 2 (+3)
ZAF: 2
---
IRL (1-4)-

MEX: 2
ZAF: 2
---
NZL (1-3)-

MEX: 1 to 2
ZAF: 1
---
USA (1-4)-

MEX: 2 (+3 and +4)
ZAF: 2
---
Perceived Corruption from Transparency International (1-180)-

Mexico: 135 (=39th)
South Africa: 71 (=108th)
---
Reporters Without Borders 2018 press censorship index-

Mexico: 48.91 (34th)
South Africa: 20.39 (153rd)
---
I don't think it comes as a shock that Mexico is rated the more dangerous of the two.
---
Johannesburg vs. Mexico City travel advice comparison (where different to overall rank):
---
USA (1-4)-

Johannesburg: 2
Mexico City: 2 to 3

Otherwise they're the same on the others that rank sub-regions (most of them).
---
Hat tip to Gerald for the info.

Last edited by The ReFREEZERator; 07-17-2018 at 05:57 PM..
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