C40 initiative aims to transform spaces

The City is calling on stakeholders to come forward with ideas to reinivent a portion of the Grand Parade

The City of Cape Town is calling on all architects, urban planners, designers, developers, entrepreneurs, environmentalists, start-ups, neighbourhood collectives, innovators and artists to submit proposals to reinvent spaces around the city.

The closing date for submissions is Thursday May 31.

The initiative is as a result of the City’s participation in the C40 Reinventing the City initiative, a global network of large cities taking action to address climate change by developing and implementing policies and programmes that generate reductions in both greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks.

The competition comprises of 19 cities across the globe including Cape Town, identifying 49 underutilised spaces to redevelop. The City has identified five spaces for the competition – a section of the Grand Parade, an open surface car park adjacent to the Cape Town Station along Marine Drive; the corner of Ottery and Old Strandfontein roads in Ottery; a plot in Diep River surrounded by Kendal, Myburgh, Greenfields and Main roads and a site in Bishop Lavis adjacent to Bishop Lavis and Lenton drives.

The public participation process with the intention of making these five spaces available is under way. The closing date for submissions is Friday May 11.

According to the mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, Brett Herron, the purpose of the C40 Reinventing Cities programme is to design and implement carbon-neutral development projects to demonstrate how cities can develop in an environmentally sensitive manner. Carbon-neutral means that the design proposals should minimise the amount of energy a building uses for heating, cooling, hot water, lighting, ventilation, electrical services, and so forth.

There are a number of factors which make up components of carbon neutrality, for example, location close to public transport services; density and land use diversity; green mobility; adaptability; other resource use, for example water demand management, urban re-vegetation/greening and community impact.

Mr Herron said many of these aspects are also embodied in the City’s Transit Orientated Development Strategic Framework. The proposals should aspire to come as close as possible to carbon neutrality.

“Choosing construction materials that minimise greenhouse gas emissions during manufacturing, transport and construction processes, but also through the lifetime of the building, are also important criteria. Managing waste is crucial, be it during or after construction.

“Discarded materials must be transformed into raw materials as far as possible. The design should ensure effective waste collection and separation, while construction waste must be limited.”

And with the water crisis in Cape Town, this also means using water-efficient technologies. One of the sites identified forms part of the revitalisation plan of the City Hall precinct (“No grand plan for Parade”, CapeTowner, July 13 2017).

Asked about how the redevelopment of the site will affect this, Mr Herron said: “It is envisaged that, if council approves to make these sites available for proposals as part of this competition, the proposed developments will take current planning frameworks into consideration to ensure alignment with precinct plans and other frameworks applicable to the area.”

While he didn’t specify what the City would like to see in those spaces, he said that the proposals should be cognisant of the needs of the community at each site – be it for affordable housing, recreation, or whatever other need they may identify in that community. In general, the urban development proposals must address the following, among others:

Inclusionary approach and community benefit

Neighbourhood green services

Energy and resource efficiency

Reduced energy demand

Use of renewable energy, use of low-carbon energy

Resilience and adaptation

Green mobility

Innovative architecture and urban design

The intended financial and legal set-up to implement the proposal

“There are no limitations on what can be proposed, as long as it speaks to the criteria set out on the competition website mentioned above and those identified for each individual site.

“The design proposals must facilitate and encourage walking, cycling, the use of public transport and lift clubs, and at the same time discourage private vehicle use with only one occupant. Ideally, the development proposals should prioritise dense, transit-oriented growth and development which is one of the City’s key development strategies; and it must illustrate community benefits.”

He said the intention is that participants must also address funding and implementation mechanisms in their submissions.

The CEO of the Central City Improvement District, Tasso Evangelinos, was supportive of the idea. “As a city improvement district, we are certainly in support of any endeavours that promote carbon-neutral and urban regeneration. And we are pleased that two of the sites that have been made available by the City of Cape Town are within the CBD as this will further enhance our steadily growing and vibrant downtown.”

In a report, the chair of C40, Anne Hidalgo said: “Think local, act global, is the 21st-century state of mind. By launching this global competition, we make this philosophy very concrete celebrating the most vibrant innovative solutions to environmental challenges.

“Reinventing Cities will set new standards of sustainability in cities and who better than our citizens to imagine the future of their cities? I am convinced that the winning projects will surprise us all and present innovations we are unable to imagine today.”

Submissions for proposals can be sent to the, Anthony Damonze at anthony.damonze@capetown.gov.za