All That Glitters is Not Gold

March, 2010

Exhibit at Harvard University Graduate School of Design

March 7th-13th

by Andrew Watkins and Dorothy Tang

Over the last century, the extraction of gold in Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni has created a constantly shifting landscape. Regional urban form is tied to global gold prices, mining, and waste. Deep shaft mining has actively altered the topography, hydrology, and ecosystems of the 80 km mining strip that traverses the two municipalities.    In the 1970’s, the decline of the mining industry set the stage for informal settlements to occupy former mining lands. The degraded environmental conditions are major obstacles for these communities to improve their livelihood. Now, with advances in technology and rising gold prices, mining has been reactivated and massive topographical and hydrological operations are set in motion once again. Our research documents the physical and invisible infrastructures that support informal settlements and gold mining as a means to reveal opportunities for collaboration and future growth in both constituencies.