The overarching objective is to design a new city and neighbourhoods that are both walkable (equitable), wild (respect nature) and welcoming (safe, convenient and beautiful).
We propose a compact and mixed-use City or neighbourhood. Designing for Blaauwberg City residents started with considering how people will move to and from the places and spaces inside the town and to take up as little natural area as possible. This could be described ‘design with nature for social equity’- design that takes into account systemic inequalities to ensure everyone in the community has access to the same opportunities and outcomes, with specific reference to mobility and access to nature and public spaces. Imagine working, eating, learning, shopping, and relaxing all without ever having to sit behind a wheel of a car. For those living in many South Africa’s towns and cities, a walkable neighbourhood seems out of reach, cars dominate (owned by a minority of wealthy citizens) South Africa’s streets and our way of life. This disparity exists mainly because many South African metro areas were built with car travel in mind. However most planners agree: highly walkable neighbourhoods are better for the environment, the economy, and our health, especially if we have a ‘new build opportunity’. For the majority of city dwellers residing anywhere in the world, strolling from place to place is a way of life. The term “walkability” means exactly what it sounds like: how easy it is to travel around Blaauwberg City on your own two feet.
Next, we propose ‘designing with nature’ in mind, Nature knows how to manage flooding and weather events and is more adaptable than many of our engineered systems, yet we refuse to learn from it. As we grapple with changing the way that we live due to climate change, we have an opportunity to learn from both the natural systems and Indigenous cultures that have mastered managing and supporting the diversity of South Africa for thousands of years. We have a unique opportunity to make the most of what nature does for free, referring to stormwater specifically – green infrastructure approach. Green infrastructure or blue-green infrastructure refers to a network that provides the “ingredients” for solving urban and climatic challenges by building with nature. The main components of this approach include stormwater management, climate adaptation, the reduction of heat stress, increasing biodiversity, food production, better air quality, sustainable energy production, clean water, and healthy soils, as well as more anthropocentric functions, such as increased quality of life through recreation and the provision of shade and shelter in and around towns and cities. Green infrastructure also serves to provide an ecological framework for social, economic, and environmental health of the surroundings.
Lastly the new town should be welcoming to it residents and visitors alike.