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DEVELOPMENT: Guide To Future Urban Planning


Recent Western Cape Business News

THE City of Cape Town has endorsed a draft policy that will guide the way in which the space available for urban growth is used in future. This draft policy will soon be open for public discussion and comment.

Known as the Cape Town Spatial Development Framework (SDF), it will supersede the guide plans and spatial plans now used to reach land use decisions. The draft SDF is complemented by eight district spatial and environmental plans.

The Planning and Environment Portfolio Committee (PEPCO) last month approved the draft Cape Town SDF for public participation, as well as three of the district plans (Blaauwberg, Eastern ex-Helderberg and Mitchells Plain – Khayelitsha). The remaining district plans will be submitted to PEPCO this month – at which point the public participation process will begin.

Brian Watkyns, chairperson of PEPCO, says the SDF will assist planners to shape the future development and growth of the Mother City.

Spatial plans are used to assess applications submitted by property developers. They also guide changes in land-use rights and public investment in infrastructure.

The SDF accordingly provides a useful and effective means of monitoring and managing land development in the city,” Watkyns says. “It informs investors about what they are ‘buying’ and where development opportunities exist in the short and longer term.”

The implementation of these plans relies on partnerships between the private sector, communities and other spheres of government,” he says.

The City will now finalise the SDF and district plans through a series of public and sector stakeholder meetings.

The plans and policies of the SDF will:

indicate the areas best suited to urban development, the areas that should be protected, and the areas where development may occur if it is sensitively managed

provide investors with a clear idea of where they should invest

guide public investment in infrastructure and social facilities

be used to assess applications submitted by property developers

guide changes in land-use rights.

The SDF does not give or take away zoning rights.

In preparing the draft SDF, we were guided by four inter-related and overarching ideas that will assist us in planning the evolution of Cape Town,” explains Watkyns. “Firstly, our city needs to be resilient and adaptive, as Cape Town’s prosperity will be decided by how well it responds to the challenges within the city and future development trends.”

Cape Town also needs to be restrained from expanding uncontrollably and absorbing all surrounding towns as it grows.”

Thirdly, we need to conserve the natural resources which make Cape Town a special place for residents and visitors alike – these natural ‘anchors’ must play an important role in shaping where and how the city grows.”

And, finally, our city needs to invest in vibrant development ‘corridors’ that are well served by public transport and cycle and pedestrian routes.”

Copies of the full Draft Spatial Development Framework, and the eight District Plans, will be available in print and PDF format in early August. For more information, visit or futurecapetown@

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