Paved with Promise

PER-ANDERS PETTERSSON/GETTY IMAGES

HALL OF SHAME: Identity cards on display at the Apartheid Museum

Straddling the first and the third worlds, Johannesburg is the perfect setting for a conference on sustainable development. Founded in 1886 after an Australian prospector discovered gold, the city grew anarchically during the mining boom and then by demographic design during the apartheid years. Today, the sprawling metropolis — known to many of its inhabitants as eGoli or Gauteng, or "place of gold" in Nguni and Sotho — still contains many of the inequities that delegates meeting at this week's World Summit on Sustainable Development seek to eliminate. Mansion-filled suburbs border shanty towns and executives drive Ferraris to glass skyscrapers while...

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