- The Greater Lanseria Master Plan, which is an ambitious development of Gauteng’s West Rand, is open for public comment.
- The Smart City aims to accommodate up to 500,000 residents by 2030 and is a radical approach to urban development in South Africa.
- Renewable energy, an emphasis on non-motorised transport and city-wide CCTV systems using facial recognition technology are all features of this new master plan.
- But before the country’s “newest city” can be recognised, challenges with water, sewerage, roads, stormwater and electricity infrastructure need to be addressed.
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Lanseria Smart City is an area earmarked for radical residential and commercial development in Gauteng’s West Rand. Expected to be completed around 2030, the city is aiming to accommodate up to half a million residents, with newly integrated public transport systems connecting residential zones and industrial hubs.
Touted as “the first new city to be built in a democratic South Africa” by President Cyril Ramaphosa, Lanseria Smart City looks to redefine urban planning. With the Greater Lanseria Master Plan published for public comment, South Africans have been afforded a glimpse into this city of the future.
The Smart City concept is built upon five primary principles.
The development needs to be compact, with mixed activities available within a five to ten minute walk, thereby reducing the need to commute. This includes easy access to new schools, shopping centres, hospitals and clinics.
Greater distances will be serviced by an integrated and accessible public transport system, which proposes a grid pattern road network, extending the Gautrain and Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT) to include stops at 500 metre intervals in the development precinct.
Economic inclusion, which ensures that the demand for work is matched with an adequate supply of job opportunities, is focused on absorbing residents of Diepsloot, Lion Park, Porcupine Park, Cosmo City and Zandspruit.
Commercial, warehousing and industrial zones are situated along the N14 highway which will serve as a major logistical vein, connecting the new city with Centurion to the north east and the central M5 interchange linking Johannesburg and the North West province.
The Greater Lanseria Master Plan – or GLMP – focuses extensively on sustainability, with proposals for power generation including waste-to-energy, micro-hydro, solar and biogas. All residential and commercial buildings will need to have a Green Star rating of between four and five. This means that the structures are energy efficient, resource efficient and are made of environment-friendly, non-toxic materials. Urban farming, like rooftop gardens and public grow spaces, will be encouraged.
Information and communications technology infrastructure (ICT) underpins the concept of a Smart City. The GLMP proposes all-inclusive 5G connectivity, which will offer fast internet to all residents and businesses.
Additionally, the city hopes to pilot a mobile application which can be used to find the nearest ATM, pay a fine, track a parcel, or identify a problem, like illegal dumping or water leaks. A city-wide CCTV system, using facial recognition technology to “identify lawbreakers”, has also been proposed.
“There will be no ‘eye-candy’ of glitzy, soaring towers of chrome and glass architectural expression,” states the GLMP, penned by GAPP Architects & Urban Designers, in explaining what you won’t see in the Lanseria Smart City.
“There will be no reference gimmickry around localised aspects of energy capture, efficiency or generation or isolated examples of low-carbon footprint movement systems that pretend to mitigate the fundamentally damaging impacts of cities that are otherwise structurally inappropriate in how they are configured or operate.”
And while the private and public sector have come together to bankroll this new development, the major – and most expensive – hurdles which lay ahead include the laying of basic infrastructure. To accommodate this new city and its residents, existing sewerage and water systems need to be overhauled and expanded. The availability of bulk engineering services – for water, sewerage, roads, stormwater and electricity services – has been listed as a “special condition” for consideration.
Another challenge is defining the Smart City’s municipal allocation and responsibility. The GLMP spans across three municipalities in Gauteng – Mogale City, City of Johannesburg and City of Tshwane – and Madibeng in the North West Province.