Considering that the southern district is the fourth largest of Cape Town’s eight districts, it would be fair to expect a large turnout at the City’s community engagement meeting to review the spatial development frameworks (SDFs) held at Mowbray Town Hall on Wednesday 20 November.Of the district’s population estimated to be 378 261 by 2016 (according to the City’s draft Southern Baseline and Analysis Report 2019), about 40 attended. The meeting was one of 26 similar gatherings that either have been or still will be hosted all over Cape Town (11 November to 15 December). The City is currently reviewing eight district plans, approved in 2012, and are inviting the public to comment on key phases. Legally, the City is required to review these plans every 10 years. Kier Hennessy of the spatial planning and environment directorate explained that once approved, SDFs guide decisions about development and land uses, be it by the government or private developers. “Depending on whether a proposed development aligns with or deviates from a district’s SDF, it can either give it a rocket boost or slam on the brakes.”He listed changing context, new information and the need for SDFs to align with new policies as reasons for the review. “We are updating the SDFs for the eight planning districts with the latest information about the state of the population; employment levels and income; the state of the urban and natural environment and heritage; state of development; the supply of and demand for housing; local economy; property market; and current services and infrastructure,” he said.This information is included in a Baseline and Analysis Report (BaAR) for each district.Residents were asked to write their suggestions on squares of paper and then stick them on three posters marked “ideas”, “opportunities” and “issues”.Under ideas, residents listed affordable and entry-level housing, reliable public transport, urban agriculture and community gardens, river corridors and groundwater availability, to name a few. While residents only posted two sticky notes on the “opportunity” poster – safe walking and cycling routes, and mixed-use developments – they almost ran out of space on the “issues” one. Lack of subsidised housing, not enough public transport options, unreliable public transport, lack of high schools, high-density development, poor public engagement, sewerage infrastructure and long-term water management were concerns echoed by many.The review of the district SDFs would be based on the BaARs and the inputs received from residents in the respective districts. Hennessy said the City would again engage with communities within a year.“Or we might touch base with representatives from civic associations within six months, depending on what we find.” V The BaAR documents can be viewed on the City’s website (bit.do/SDFReview). The public is requested to provide their comments by 31 January next year.