Smart cities promote best practice in urban sustainability

A ‘smart city’ is much more than a city that is digitally enabled and brimming with technology. It is a city that leverages innovation to achieve its desired outcomes – and here innovation does not necessarily mean only technology.

The Discovery Place precinct in Sandton, Johannesburg is an example of modern urban trends.

This is the view of Carshif Talip, Expertise Leader, Urban Planning and Land Infrastructure at Zutari. “A smart city is a city where opportunity, amenity, safety, resilience, inclusivity and prosperity are imperatives, and innovation across financing, design, construction, operations and governance is embraced by all stakeholders to achieve these imperatives.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in his State of the Nation Address on 11 February that the masterplan for the proposed Lanseria Smart City had been completed in November last year and is now available for public comment. The project is a joint initiative of the Presidency, the Office of the Gauteng Premier, Tshwane, Johannesburg and Mogale. It is based on best practice in urban sustainability and the principles underpinning the smart city concept.

The fact that innovation is such an integral part of smart cities makes for a natural fit between smart cities and sustainability, according to Talip. The emphasis on digital platforms also enables data collection, and the availability of large data sets is one of the first steps towards optimisation. “While there are benefits in chasing low-hanging fruit, I believe that a more holistic approach is the more appropriate first step.”

Talip asserts it goes without saying that proper planning is the answer to rapid urbanisation, inadequate infrastructure and polarised development. What is equally important is an integrated approach, as with the Lanseria Smart City. “A siloed approach, whether that be across the various spheres of government, the private and public sectors or even within a municipal entity itself, needs to be eliminated if we are to be successful,” urges Talip.

Each stakeholder needs to have their role and contribution clearly defined and have the necessary resources to deliver. Finally, a measure of agility and fluidity needs to be built in. “Planning, in essence, is designing a path based on a predicted future. If that future changes, and one just has to look at how unpredictable 2020 was due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the plan needs to be sufficiently adaptable to respond to change,” stresses Talip.

In terms of the impact of Covid-19 on future urban planning requirements, one positive outcome has been that flexible working arrangements are now possible. “The need for large swathes of office space will certainly be challenged, and tenants will demand more flexible arrangements from their landlords,” notes Talip. While there will always be a brick-and-mortar component to retail, there is certainly a move towards online retail. These two phenomena could challenge planning concepts like centralising commercial areas, and even the concept of what a CBD looks like.

“This might have a profound impact on what cities look like in the future,” argues Talip. Another more subtle impact of Covid-19 has been the disruption of global supply chains. What will be interesting to see in the long term is if governments around the world – who anticipate more severe pandemics in future – shift towards self-reliance rather than global imports. Therefore, governments might consider reigniting primary and secondary economic sectors such as mining, agriculture and manufacturing. “Should this happen, we could expect shifts in urban migration that could impact planning requirements,” predicts Talip.

Zutari’s capabilities within the built environment encompass civil, structural, electrical, mechanical, fire engineering and wet services design, as well as urban planning. This is supported by a proficiency in ESD (environmentally sustainable design) and advanced digital capability. These multidisciplinary services are provided across the entire project lifecycle, from risk analysis, planning and feasibility studies to engineering design, documentation and construction supervision, as well as operations and maintenance.

Teams deliver projects across both the public and private sector and have an impressive track record of mixed-use developments, integrated human settlements and various offices, retail and leisure facilities. Some of Zutari’s award-winning projects include the Discovery head office in Sandton, the Menlyn shopping centre refurbishment in Pretoria, Atrium on 5th and Newtown Junction in Johannesburg, 16 on Bree and 35 Lower Long in Cape Town and the Sol Plaatje University library in Kimberley. Zutari prides itself on finding the delicate balance between cost, durability, function, sustainability, safety and practicality.



Latest


25 Mar 2021
Lanseria Smart City unlikely to make a big splash in SA’s urban landscape

In his State of the Nation Address on 13 February, President Cyril Ramaphosa revealed that the proposed Lanseria Smart City…

Lanseria Smart City unlikely to make a big splash in SA’s urban landscape

In his State of the Nation Address on 13 February, President Cyril Ramaphosa revealed that the proposed Lanseria Smart City “is now a reality in the making”, with the draft masterplan completed in November 2020 out for public comment. With South African cities and towns fast deteriorating at an infrastructure…

24 Mar 2021
Pratliperl® revolutionises eco construction industry

Energy efficiency in the construction industry is more important than ever due to load-shedding and the rising cost of electricity.…

Pratliperl® revolutionises eco construction industry

Energy efficiency in the construction industry is more important than ever due to load-shedding and the rising cost of electricity. The thermal insulation of a two-leaf (220 mm) brick wall can be doubled, for example, by simply plastering the inside and outside with Pratley’s Pratliperl®. Pratliperl® is derived from a volcanic…

23 Mar 2021
Sunridge brings the Borras brand to South Africa

Sunridge Importers and Wholesalers, the distributing agent for a range of plumbing and hardware wholesale industry products, has secured the agency…

Sunridge brings the Borras brand to South Africa

Sunridge Importers and Wholesalers, the distributing agent for a range of plumbing and hardware wholesale industry products, has secured the agency and exclusive distribution rights for the Borras brand of taps and mixers in South Africa and neighbouring territories. Sunridge’s existing products include Rifeng, a patented multi-layered piping system produced in…

22 Mar 2021
Ceramic Industries is the proud developer of EcoTec

Ceramic Industries has been committed to sustainable innovation for more than 40 years, finding smarter, ecologically responsible ways to produce Proudly…

Ceramic Industries is the proud developer of EcoTec

Ceramic Industries has been committed to sustainable innovation for more than 40 years, finding smarter, ecologically responsible ways to produce Proudly South African, fashionable products. Doing so helps them live up to their vision of supporting every South African’s right to a beautiful home. At the beginning of 2020, Ceramic Industries set themselves…


Top stories


09 Sep 2020
Dulux Unearths Courage as the 2021 Colour of the Year

Dulux, manufactured by AkzoNobel, this week launched its Colour FuturesTM 2021 palettes to set the tone for the year ahead. After…

Dulux Unearths Courage as the 2021 Colour of the Year

Dulux, manufactured by AkzoNobel, this week launched its Colour FuturesTM 2021 palettes to set the tone for the year ahead. After extensive trend research by AkzoNobel and external experts around the world, Brave Ground has been revealed by AkzoNobel’s Colour FuturesTM – as the Colour of the Year for 2021. The colour…

21 Aug 2020
The Condensed Suburb

Prior to the discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand in 1886, the Johannesburg suburb of Melrose was part of one of the…

The Condensed Suburb

Prior to the discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand in 1886, the Johannesburg suburb of Melrose was part of one of the original farms that made up the city. The suburb had its beginning when one of the original randlords bought land in the north of Johannesburg in 1893. He built his home there…

26 Mar 2020
5 000 Designs To Make Construction More Sustainable

The 6th International LafargeHolcim Awards for projects and visions in sustainable construction attracted almost 5,000 entries by authors in 121…

5 000 Designs To Make Construction More Sustainable

The 6th International LafargeHolcim Awards for projects and visions in sustainable construction attracted almost 5,000 entries by authors in 121 countries. More than 40% of the projects were submitted in the Next Generation category for students and professionals up to 30 years of age.

23 Mar 2020
Co-working Office Supports Local Design

  By some estimates South Africa’s cultural and creative industries contribute around R63 billion per year to the economy (approximately 1.7%…

Co-working Office Supports Local Design

  By some estimates South Africa’s cultural and creative industries contribute around R63 billion per year to the economy (approximately 1.7% of total GDP). South African born co-working office space provider Workshop17 believes that the rapidly growing flexible office industry can do more to support the local creative economy.


Visit the official COVID-19 government website to stay informed: sacoronavirus.co.za