New Urbanism is Redefining City Living
A new development designated for Cape Town’s foreshore area is set to redefine the city centre and change the city’s skyline forever.
Granted, the R10-billion development won’t be fully complete for at least five years – but it brings with it a global trend already seen in the world’s major cities including London, Sydney, and South Africa’s own Johannesburg.
Harbour Arch is the Mother City’s answer to the global movement of new urbanism, channeling the best of mixed-use concepts with sustainable and energy-efficient technologies.
Harbour Arch is modelled on the global trend and demand for walkable precincts, such as Battersea Power Station in London, Darling Harbour in Sydney, and Melrose Arch in Johannesburg, among many others.
Johannesburg’s iconic and award-winning mixed-use precinct Melrose Arch was developed by the Amdec Group. Harbour Arch, the group’s newest project, will be the largest of its kind in Cape Town at 5.8 hectares. It will feature six individual tower blocks and 200 000 square metres of usable space – a hot commodity in the CBD.
“The new urbanism trend which requires all your daily needs to be within walking distance is well established and gaining significant traction in South Africa, with developments like Menlyn Maine, Century City, Melrose Arch, and now Harbour Arch as prime examples,” says Nicholas Stopforth, Amdec’s Head of Development.
Cape Town is known for horrendous traffic every weekday morning and evening, owing to few roads in and out of the city centre that connect to the suburbs. Those who live and work in Cape Town’s City Bowl already enjoy easier access to everything in the CBD, without the hassle of sitting in traffic for up to two or three hours a day.
But, according to Stopforth, the additional appeal of living in a mixed-use development lies in the significantly increased security.
“It’s all about being able to live, work, and play in a precinct which is safe and secure. There are always people around at any time of day or night, making it secure by design,” he explains.
Stopforth believes, from personal experience living and working in mixed-use developments, that the new urbanism style of living can have a meaningful impact on the way we live our lives.
“From my own experience, it’s a convenient, comfortable lifestyle. You never have to get in a car in the morning. You no longer have that hour, or longer, of commuting twice a day. You can use that available time as you choose,” he explains.
For those who still choose the suburbs, developments like Harbour Arch could at the very least be a place to wait out traffic, with bars, restaurants, and a piazza-style “Central Park” on the eighth floor boasting phenomenal views of the harbour, city, and mountains.
The movement towards living in the city, and the trend of semigration to major city centres, is indicative of the desire for an urban lifestyle.
The development will also create significant job opportunities for the city, with up to 12 000 people required for construction alone and hundreds of permanent positions in hotels, shops, bars, restaurants, and more.