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. 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.”

Zutari’s built-environment experience includes the iconic 144 Oxford Road in Rosebank, Johannesburg

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.”

Carshif Talip, Expertise Leader, Urban Planning and Land Infrastructure at Zutari

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.

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

“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.

Flexible working arrangements due to Covid-19 will impact office-space requirements

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


16 Apr 2021
Leading manufacturer and converter of closed cell Performance Foams

Sondor Performance Foams related products to all industries needing technical solutions for sealing, thermal and acoustic insulation, protection, packaging and…

Leading manufacturer and converter of closed cell Performance Foams

Sondor Performance Foams related products to all industries needing technical solutions for sealing, thermal and acoustic insulation, protection, packaging and buoyancy applications in local and selected export markets. Polyclosure the roof Sondor Polyclosures are eave and ridge fillers, manufactured from a durable expanded closed cell polyethylene. They are dustproof, bird-proof, waterproof,…

16 Apr 2021
The perfect solution for any public sanitary facility

It is safe to say that the topic of hygiene has come to the forefront of people’s minds in recent…

The perfect solution for any public sanitary facility

It is safe to say that the topic of hygiene has come to the forefront of people’s minds in recent times. This issue is not isolated to the home, but also applies to, and is possibly more prevalent in public areas. Electronic washbasin taps are primarily used in sanitary facilities…

15 Apr 2021
Ceiling fans and good lung health

Ceiling fans are an absolute must-have in every household during the hot summer months. Most people cannot function without having a…

Ceiling fans and good lung health

Ceiling fans are an absolute must-have in every household during the hot summer months. Most people cannot function without having a fan to keep the air moving, so making sure your fan is in optimal condition always is very important. At Solent, we love how, even when the days are getting…

15 Apr 2021
Best people practices in a post-COVID-19 world

Despite global doom and gloom, Stats SA in their latest gross domestic product (GDP) report, state that the construction industry…

Best people practices in a post-COVID-19 world

Despite global doom and gloom, Stats SA in their latest gross domestic product (GDP) report, state that the construction industry in South Africa reportedly grew at a rate of 11.2% in the fourth quarter of 2020. In line with commonly held belief, these results indicate that the sector holds the…


Top stories


27 Feb 2020
The Nxuba wind farm Renewable Energy

In its ongoing efforts to showcase the potential that renewables can play in boosting the security of energy supplies in…

The Nxuba wind farm Renewable Energy

In its ongoing efforts to showcase the potential that renewables can play in boosting the security of energy supplies in South Africa, Enel Green Power (EGP) highlights its commitment to the country as it nears the completion of its Nxuba wind farm in the Eastern Cape. The company recently started…

23 Jan 2020
Refurbishment at North West University

As the three established divisions of Norcros SA, TAL, Johnson Tiles and Tile Africa recently played important roles in an…

Refurbishment at North West University

As the three established divisions of Norcros SA, TAL, Johnson Tiles and Tile Africa recently played important roles in an extensive tiling project at North-West University’s Potchefstroom campus in North West Province. The project entailed refurbishing the five-block Sports Village, a guest house facility providing accommodation for the public, athletes…

06 Mar 2020
7 Awe-inspiring marble use cases

Marble, an exceptionally versatile material used for centuries to create awe-inspiring art, majestic staircases, classic kitchens and resplendent flooring. With…

7 Awe-inspiring marble use cases

Marble, an exceptionally versatile material used for centuries to create awe-inspiring art, majestic staircases, classic kitchens and resplendent flooring. With today’s contemporary design trends, the wide selection of marble can be used in more ways than ever before.

05 Mar 2020
First Green Key Boutique Hotel in South Africa

21 Nettleton attains their Green Key Award from WESSA, becoming South Africa’s first boutique hotel to achieve this accolade for…

First Green Key Boutique Hotel in South Africa

21 Nettleton attains their Green Key Award from WESSA, becoming South Africa’s first boutique hotel to achieve this accolade for its efforts in sustainability. An exciting partnership between WESSA and 21 Nettleton has resulted in the private boutique hotel in Clifton, Cape Town being awarded the prestigious Green Key award.…


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