The suburb of Hillbrow, the most densely populated residential area in Southern Africa, lies on top of Hospital Hill Ridge and is dominated by the J. G. Strijdom Tower, some 269m high. It is known for its high levels of unemployment, poverty and crime. 

In the 1970s it was a "whites only" designated area but soon became a "grey area", where people of different ethnicities lived together. It acquired a cosmopolitan and politically progressive feel but unfortunately due to poor planning its infrastructure could not cope with the rapid population growth.

This, together with a lack of investment and increase of black population, led to an efflux of middle class residents in the 1980s and the decay of major buildings, leaving in its wake an urban slum by the 1990s. 

Today the majority of the residents are migrants from the townships, rural areas and the rest of Africa, particularly Nigeria - many living in abject poverty.

Street markets, mainly used by local residents, dominate the scene.