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Two ‘climate friendly’ urban developments for Gauteng

Posted by Laura Grant on May 21, 2009
Posted in Green News

Artist's impression of the Menlyn Maine 'green' precinct to be built in Pretoria

Artist's impression of the Menlyn Maine 'green' precinct to be built in Pretoria

Two large-scale development projects in Gauteng – one in Johannesburg, one in Pretoria – are part of an international initiative to show that cities can grow in ways that are “climate positive”.

Anyone who drives between Joburg and Pretoria regularly could be forgiven for assuming that someone has decided that no clod of earth should be left unpaved between the two cities. News that moves are afoot to set “compelling environmental and economic examples” among all that concrete comes as something of a relief.

The two “climate positive” projects are Zonk’izizwe, a new town centre which will be situated between Gallagher Estate and Grand Central Airport in Midrand, and Menlyn Maine, which is described as a “mixed-used precinct” in the eastern suburbs of Waterkloof Glen Ext 2 and Menlyn Ext 3, Pretoria.

The projects are among the 16 founding projects of the Climate Positive Development Programme that will strive to reduce the amount of on-site carbon dioxide emissions to below zero and set an example for sustainable urban growth. The global initiative was announced this week by Bill Clinton, the former US president, at a four-day summit to discuss cities and climate change in Seoul, South Korea. The programme is a collaborative effort of the Clinton Climate Initiative and the US Green Building Council.

“As the Earth’s population increases and our cities grow, we need to ensure we have the models in place to sustain our way of life in an increasingly urbanised world,” Clinton said at the launch.

To reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of these projects to below zero, property developers and local governments will agree to look at implementing innovations in building; generating clean energy; waste management; water management; transport; and outdoor lighting systems.

Last year, for the first time, half the world’s population (3.2-billion people) lived in cities, and that figure is expected to grow to 70 percent by 2050. Cities occupy just 2 percent of the world’s landmass, yet are responsible for more than two-thirds of global energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. How cities change and grow is a critical component to tackling the climate crisis.

MENLYN MAINE

Artist's impression of Menlyn Maine's high-density residential space. The buildings will have energy and water efficiency systems as well as being connected to a fibreoptic network

Artist's impression of Menlyn Maine's high-density residential space. The buildings will have energy and water efficiency systems and will be connected to a fibreoptic network

The developers describe Menlyn Maine as South Africa’s first “green living precinct”. Built on 135,000 m2 of land, it will have offices, shops, restaurants, hotels, residences and entertainment facilities all within easy walking distance of one another to promote living, working and playing in a centralised area.

It is designed around ease of accessibility, says Anton van Wyk, managing director of Menlyn Maine Investment Holdings. “It removes useless hours spent in traffic, which makes more sense from an environmental perspective, and results in happier and more productive employees and customers.”

The development is also close to the new Gautrain rapid rail link between Pretoria and Johannesburg.

To bring some scenery and a breath of fresh air, parklands will run through the middle of the development, in all 5 700m² will be devoted to indigenous landscaping, say the developers.

The buildings will comply with the Green Star Rating System recently launched by South Africa’s Green Building Council. This means they will incorporate energy efficient systems, locally produced or recycled building products, and water saving appliances (such as low-flush loos), water-efficient irrigation systems and stormwater harvesting.

An added attraction is that Menlyn Maine will have an internal fibreoptic network link to every building in the precinct.

Construction has begun and the first commercial sites are due for completion in late 2010.

ZONK’IZIZWE TOWN CENTRE

The Zonk’izizwe (which means “all nations”) project is part of a high-density, mixed-use development planned around the new Gautrain station in Midrand, to the east of the N1 Ben Schoeman highway. (see map)

The 220-hectare development will be a new town centre between Johannesburg and Pretoria and will include a lake, parks, outdoor shopping, a hotel, museums, an aquarium, themed-adventure experiences, a nightlife village, multiplex cinemas as well as residential, office and retail space.

Sustainable development and “green” architecture feature prominently in the Zonk’izizwe design, with innovations like bio-water recycling/purification and solar power energy contributions, energy efficient strategies and a conservation ethic, says the Development Design Group Inc, the US-based planning, architecture and design group, on its website.

The development also aims to minimise its environmental impact by reducing vehicle-use. Buildings will have access to public transport, bicycle paths, the lake and be within walking distance of basic services.

Comments

One Response to “Two ‘climate friendly’ urban developments for Gauteng”

  1. abraxas
    May 25th, 2009 @ 12:14 pm

    Brilliant initiative. Still smells of market speak, but i’ll be watching for these buildings.

    Not sure why some of the measures are not already required for ALL new buildings. Some very simple and good ideas there.

    Wouldn’t want to live there though. 🙂

    peace

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