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View Poll Results: Johannesburg vs Detroit
Johannesburg 9 45.00%
Detroit 11 55.00%
Voters: 20. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-28-2018, 09:42 PM
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These are two cities that where once considered great, but today they are known for being quite dangerous. However I still believe that there are many nice areas in both of these two cities, and I think they are both worth a visit. Which do you think is better overall? Some criteria to consider.

1. Downtown
2. Architecture
3. Climate
4. Scenery
5. Economy
6. Safety
7. Transportation
8. Walkability
9. Better future
10. Better to Visit
11. Better to live in.
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Old 09-29-2018, 01:31 AM
119 posts, read 139,405 times
Reputation: 351
Originally Posted by Turnerbro View Post
These are two cities that where once considered great, but today they are known for being quite dangerous. However I still believe that there are many nice areas in both of these two cities, and I think they are both worth a visit. Which do you think is better overall? Some criteria to consider.

1. Downtown Detroit, actually safer
2. Architecture Detroit, but not overwhelmingly
3. Climate Johannesburg
4. Scenery Johannesburg
5. Economy Detroit
6. Safety Detroit
7. Transportation Hmmmm...Detroit has superior highways, but Jo'burg has superior public transport if safety isn't taken into consideration. This one goes to Detroit.
8. Walkability Safety has to be considered in many neighborhoods in both cities, but Johannesburg wins this for having a more walking-friendly infrastructure overall.
9. Better future Detroit
10. Better to Visit Johannesburg, as it's less interesting than Cape Town, or even Durban or Pretoria, IMO, but definitely still more interesting than Detroit.
11. Better to live in. Detroit
Bear in mind, I'm considering not only the cities proper, but also their immediately adjacent suburban and exurban areas. Detroit itself is in dire straits, but it's still immediately or almost immediately surrounded by Dearborn, Ann Arbor, Oakland County, Grosse Isle, and Windsor, Ontario. You don't need a gated entry into your neighborhood in any of these areas, whereas you definitely would need gates and guards in middle-class and upper-middle-class neighborhoods in and around Johannesburg. Yes, fellow Americans, Detroit really is quite a bit safer than Johannesburg, and, pound-for-pound, it's a better city than Jo'burg. Detroit has a budding optimism; while Jo'burg has this in certain neighborhoods, it is often dampened.
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Old 09-29-2018, 04:47 AM
Location: Greater Orlampa CSA
5,025 posts, read 5,669,482 times
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I remember reading a post about this earlier, which city is Johannesburg most alike to? And the one that carried the results was Atlanta. I would say that I'm not certain I disagree, and not really from a demographics standpoint as much as from a layout standpoint. They are both somewhat spread out (though Atlanta probably more so), and have multiple nodes within their region (Sandton and Pretoria for JoBurg, where of course ATL has it's 3 downtowns and more, etc.). Detroit is different, fairly different indeed. It had a much older start. In fact Detroit itself has roots predating Washington DC, New Orleans, San Antonio, all but a handful of US cities. In fact, taking a look at Detroit's grid, one can see a Parisian city layout that attempted to form before the auto put it's stamp of approval on the city, though it then instead developed a very, very recognizable grid system. One could at least see that from paying a visit to Campus Martius Park, and seeing roads heading out from there in a diagonal format in several cases, though it never fully came to fruition. Johannesburg, on the other hand, contrary to what we tend to think, in this case is probably newer than Detroit overall. Well older, in that the first modern homo sapiens dervied from that immediate region, of course 200K years ago, but in fact the city itself was not founded until 1886, so things have a newer, and apparently less planned look them which is immediately apparent when viewing JoBurg on a map. There are vast differences between South Africa and the United States economically, socially, etc., and of course even with Detroit's problems, it is significantly wealthier on average, and it's lower income areas even are better off than those in Joburg on average too, but I don't think this thread should necessarily just be comparing on those two things, I think it's interesting to look at how Africa's Financial Capital compares against a major, fringe top 10 US center.

1. Downtown: I honestly don't know enough about both to make a ruling. Johannesburg is certainly now a bigger city. I would imagine Joburg's downtown as a result to be more vibrant and active, but at the same time I would think Detroit's might be a little more inviting for walking around, etc. Tie. Perhaps someone more well versed can comment on their differences. I did quite enjoy exploring Downtown Detroit on my recent visit.
2. Architecture: This one almost certainly has to be Detroit. Especially if we are talking about the surrounding region and then including the residential architecture of a place like Grosse Pointe, and Ann Arbor, one of the prettier university towns. Frankly, in looking at pictures, I find Pretoria to be more architecturally fascinating than Johannesburg, and while I would assume it has a denser and more rising skyline in comparison to Detroit and probably also some older gems, Detroit had an old world power, beauty and significance thanks to birthing the auto industry that means it has a number of jazz age architectural projects that would be considered elite in any city in the world. And even in a modern sense, I'm not sure that Joburg has a single modern highrise as interesting as Renaissance Center, a global Top 10 HQ on the Fortune list.
3. Climate: This one almost certainly has to be Johannesburg if viewed from any objective standpoint. I don't mind colder temperatures, and think that Detroit's summers are quite lovely, but Johannesburg has some of the most desirable year round weather of any city in the world.
4. Scenery: So, this one is Johannesburg, but I'm not sure it's as clear cut as many people would think. In fact, within city limits, with the Detroit River, Forest Preserves like Rouge, Belle Isle Park, and lakes nearby, I'd say it's a tie or arguably Detroit wins. But, further out is where Johannesburg is going to shine. I'm not sure that it's all that outstanding immediately around there, as it is at least 4 hours I think to get to the Kruger Reserve or Drakensberg Range, but, being on the African continent in itself means it's remarkably biodiverse and has nearly a mile of topography for hiking etc. within a 50 mile range of the city, too big an edge to ignore.
5. Economy: So, even with Johannesburg maybe in SOME ways being a more important world financial center, by at least for now serving as that hub for Sub-Saharan Africa, the reality is that just on the basis of being in a financial powerhouse like the US, and having the major industries it does, and just general economic health of citizens, Detroit takes this one.
6. Safety: If I were to say I feel a comparable level of safety in Johannesburg and Detroit? I don't know, though I'm sure it really varies on area, within city limits. However, as another poster mentioned, when taking it to a regional level, Detroit would win this one, though I have never been huge on this category because safety kinda is what you make it.
7. Transportation: Johannesburg takes this one. Appears to have a really neat regional rail network connecting it's airport and many of it's major business and activity centers. The fact that Pretoria and Johannesburg are so close probably allows for interesting collaboration between politics and business.
8. Walkability: In some ways, I feel like Johannesburg regionally might not be as walkable or comfortable to walk as the Detroit region. That said, I would think Joburg's most walkable parts are more walkable, based on what I have understood and researched at least. I would have to go to Joburg to specificially compare though.
9. Better future: I honestly can't say, as I am by no means a Nostradamus type lol.
10. Better to Visit: It depends. I will take this from the never before been to either standpoint, and say Johannesburg, at least in part because it benefits from having a regional location that is somewhat akin to the 1927 Yankees lineup LOL (Cape Town, Victoria Falls, Namib Desert, Drakensberg Range, Kruger Reserve all close at hand). However, once you've been to both, I'd say it's personal preference here.
11. Better to live in: Detroit, there are too many QOL factors to ignore here.

So, I have:
2 Ties
4 Detroit
5 Johannesburg

Sounds about right, as I would say the two are comparable in terms of their level of city tier/grouping.

But. Detroit has QOL Metrics down, and really has more of interest in terms of high culture and architecture and education, etc. to be certain.

Johannesburg is a place that on average would be of more interest to a first time visitor, perhaps. In large part due to the outstanding attractions that surround it. But also due to a very unique and eye opening cultural heritage and history. And excellent climate and less of a car dominated lifestyle (more walkable central area, as a whole).

So it more just depends on what one is looking for.
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Old 09-29-2018, 07:35 AM
Location: Ontario
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I only live 3 hrs away from Detroit by car and I chose it easily.

Detroit has some very nice areas, I could live their, housing prices are very good too.
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Old 09-29-2018, 11:58 AM
Location: Georgia
4,209 posts, read 4,744,007 times
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Glad I’m seeing Joburg more on this site! Interesting comparison but I’m sure Detroit would win for most people. Johannesburg has some serious police issues even compared to Detroit and if you don’t have private security or live in an apartment that has security, your life is in serious danger (more so at night than during the day though). As far as amenities go though, Joburg isn’t that far behind and has multiple upscale malls. The housing stock in Joburg is better in my opinion (in the more wealthy neighborhoods obviously). Climate goes to Joburg. Economy is a tie, Joburg has a good number of foreign companies that use it as a jump off into Africa. Walkability goes to Joburg, though I think Detroit has a better Downtown architecturally. Detroit has little to no public transit but the transit Joburg has mostly sucks except the Gautrain and maybe the BRT. I’d say Joburg is better to visit, but Detroit is better to live in.
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Old 01-15-2023, 01:55 PM
211 posts, read 119,839 times
Reputation: 208
Well Joburg has Stage 6 loadshedding for black outs now.

the old Joburg CBD is NOT in good shape, although some parts of it have turned around somewhat, Marshall Square, Newtown, Bramfontein, Maboneng and there are some outlying areas. All things considered, Detroit is quite a bit safer as a metro although it certainly has some terrible areas.

Also downtown Detroit is insanely superior to downtown Joburg - DT Joburg, barring some nice disconnected pockets has a LONG way to go. Sandton is fine, but not particularly interesting or urban.
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