eThekwini will ‘see an increase in high-rise buildings’

2014-05-09 00:00

MORE multi-storey buildings will be a reality for suburban dwellers living in the eThekwini Metro. And suburbs in the Berea, which has already seen widespread development, will continue to sprout high-rise buildings.

And according to researchers, the densification of eThekwini is nothing more than a natural progression as the city moves towards a modern public transport system and attempts to eradicate urban sprawl to bring down infrastructure and maintenance costs.

But Save the Berea (SOB) — a civic movement — while claiming it is not against development, believes the city should be more forthcoming with private developer plans if requested by the public.

The South African Property Owners Association (Sapoa) KZN chairperson Edwin van Niekerk said as the city attempts to develop a modern transport infrastructure system densification will become part of the natural progression.

“The link between public transport, infrastructure and densification is very strong. Once you create a public transport system, the high-rise mixed development will appear,” said Van Niekerk, adding that the Berea is another area that could experience the development of “more” multi-storey buildings.

“If you have a standalone property on the Berea it could become quite valuable in years to come. There will always be property owners unhappy with densification, but it is an inevitability of the modern way of living,” said Van Niekerk.

Researcher Thoko Vukea at the South African Cities Network of which all South Africa’s nine metro cities are members, said densification is a “worldwide phenomenon”.

“Cities such as Johannesburg, Tshwane, eThekwini and Cape Town are trying to maximise space. Cities are creating an environment for densification for private developers. In Johannesburg for example there are shops on the ground floor, offices in the middle and residential on the upper floors. This is mixed use as metros try to get more people in smaller areas,” she said.

SOB’s Kevin Dunkley said there is a trend where residents and neighbours to “new developments are not fully informed” on what is being built.

“We currently have a Promotion of Access to Information Act application being processed with the council just to gain access to the approved building plans for a building that has been completed and which we believe may be in breach of city bylaws. The city needs to create a more workable system where residents can easily check the legality of structures. At the moment we are given the runaround,” said Dunkley.

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