In the plans for Newtown the strict grid pattern of the CBD has been adopted.The destruction of Brickfields and subsequent development of Newtown was an attempt by the post-South African War administration of Lord Milner to refashion Johannesburg along ‘modern’ lines.
The core cultural precinct containing the internationally famous Market Theatre, Museum Africa and numerous dance and music venues straddles the historic Mary Fitzgerald Square.
The precinct can be divided into the Market Precinct (located north of the square) which is dominated by the 1913 Market Building - home to the Market Theatre and Museum Africa.
From the north-eastern to the north-western quadrants of Newtown, Carr Street connects the Brickfields and Kazerne with the Milling Precinct, home to the old Premier Milling complex on Quinn Street.
Diagonal Street in the east has traditionally marked the border between the Central Business District (CBD) and Newtown.
The name ‘Newtown’ was adopted by city administrators in 1904 following the clearance of Brickfields and other multi-racial 'slums' in Johannesburg’s first forced removal.
Situated west of Diagonal Street and beyond the borders of the original mining town, this racially diverse area incorporated parts of Brickfields, Aaron’s Yard and the Indian (or ‘Coolie’) location.
In 1904 this ‘new town’ was redesigned as a commercial and industrial area to maximise the nearby goods-yards.
To the south of the square is the historic Electric and Workers Precinct containing the Workers Compound, Turbine Hall, the Electric Workshop, Sci Bono centre and the South African Breweries Museum.
Lastly, the Transport Precinct incorporates the South African Reserve Bank, the Bus Factory, Transport House, the City of Johannesburg’s Directorate of Arts, Culture and Heritage (housed in what used to be offices of the city’s transport department) and the M1 freeway.