Joburg mayor details plan for a new smart city

City of Joburg executive mayor Geoffrey Makhubo has announced that the city has formally adopted the provincial government’s plan to develop a smart city in Lanseria – with a proposal that an additional smart city be developed in the Deep South region.

This area of Joburg includes Ennerdale, Lenasia South, Finetown, Zakkaria Park, Vlakfontein and Lehae – stretching as far south as Orange Farm.

During his 2021 State of the Nation Address, president Cyril Ramaphosa outlined plans for a new smart city in Gauteng, which is aimed at changing the “social and economic apartheid architecture”. The smart city project will be located in Lanseria.

According to MyBroadband, plans for the Lanseria Smart City – first known as Cradle City – started in 2007 with the idea of creating South Africa’s first city built around an airport.

The project began to make headlines after it was mentioned in the president’s 2020 state of the nation address and premier David Makhura’s Gauteng state of the province address.

Further details about the project were made public, which included that Property Investments, in cooperation with the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements, would develop the Lanseria Airport City Mega Project over a ten-year period.

Crosspoint has also partnered with the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) to develop a 90-hectare mixed-use commercial precinct – the Lanseria Business District – as part of the project.

“The Lanseria Smart City project is expected to contribute towards the creation of new regional city nodes which will result in the attraction of investments into the area, as well as provide for a conducive environment for job creation and opportunities for communities in and around the Lanseria area,” Makhubo said.

“We in the Johannesburg administration see this as a perfect opportunity to encourage the evolving of our city toward a Smart City as not merely a ‘Nice-to-Have’, but instead as an absolute necessity for this city to retain its status as the economic hub that supports and determines the growth trajectory of South Africa.”

The smart city will feature rainwater harvesting and solar energy to limit its carbon footprint, and aims to move urban sustainability beyond existing paradigms of planning, engineering, and urbanisation to increasingly appropriate levels of sustainability and innovation.

There is a strong focus on limiting the need to commute using cars. Any commuting should, by default, be by non-motorised means, namely walking or cycling or, where necessary, using public transport.

In planning terms, people must be able to walk to work, and shopping malls, or schools should be within 5 minutes (400 metres) and 10 minutes (800 metres).

The Lanseria Business Gateway will be located on 130 hectares of prime real estate between Lanseria Airport and the upmarket Blair Atholl Golf Estate. It will be a 24-hour smart city zone that will offer retail, conference, and business facilities. It will also host the Lanseria luxury hotel.

A new smart city

Makhubo said that that the concept of a high-tech and integrated city should not be limited to the Lanseria development, and that the city should consider building an additional smart city in the Deep South.

Orange Farm was specifically mentioned by the mayor as being a focus for development projects, where the city is working on updating the Urban Development Framework (UDF) for the greater Orange Farm area.

This includes tarring of roads and stormwater infrastructure, as well as addressing public lighting; developing access routes; and doing conceptual and design work for public open space management.

“The update of the UDF and Precinct Plans – envisaged to be completed in FY21/22 Q2 – will form the basis for the projects we will undertake over the new medium term that will be managed in an integrated manner,” he said.

This would fit into a greater long-term plan to link all these nodes together, creating a highly-integrated mega-city.

“Imagine a Joburg with new economic centres in the east, linking Midrand, Ivory Park, Tembisa and Kempton Park; connected to the Lanseria Smart City in the north west; repurposing the CBD as a place of opportunity; developing the area around FNB Stadium/Aeroton, and linking it with Riverlea and Diepkloof in Soweto,” the mayor said.

“Imagine consolidating commercial development and new post-mining industries on the west of Soweto and linking it with Randfontein, Lenasia, and Krugersdorp. We must also envision the development of another new smart city in the Deep South, by linking it to existing economic and social spaces by a modern public transport system.”

“The city of tomorrow is one where there are new landmarks for opportunity. It is a place where all homes are digitally connected and where Joburg is a safe city for all its residents. Let us work together to make this a reality.”

Read: 3 smart cities planned for South Africa

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Joburg mayor details plan for a new smart city