Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to frequently asked questions about Wescape. Wescape is a large and on-going project, and all the information below is subject to change from time to time as the project progresses. Please feel free to contact us for further information, or to download the book “2 Billion Strong: A Regenerative Solution to Building African Cities” to learn more about communiTgrow’s approach to city building.

 

 

Project Information

Frequently asked questions:

Q:Is Wescape a government development?
No, Wescape is a private venture proposed by communiTgrow - a private urban development company.
Q:How long will it take to complete Wescape?
The project timeline for Wescape is 20 years.
Q:When will construction of Wescape begin?
Construction of Wescape is planned to begin in 2015 and to end in 2035.
Q:How big is Wescape?
The area of Wescape is 3100.88 hectares, or 31km2.
Q:How many people will live in Wescape?
According to the current plans for Wescape,  a population of 800 000 will be accommodated by the time the project is completed.
Q:How many homes will there be in Wescape?
Current plans for Wescape include 200 000 homes by the time the project is completed.
Q:What facilities and public services will be available in Wescape?
Wescape will include crèches, schools, a university, health facilities, public service facilities, parks and public open spaces. There will be 30 health facilities, 400 education facilities, 370 public service facilities, and more than 600 public open spaces. (These numbers are derived from CSIR Norms and standards)
Q:What will the average density of Wescape be?
The average gross density of Wescape will be in the range of 65 du/ha (dwelling units per hectare). This is comparable to the current density of Sea Point. The density of 65 du/ha will be spread out over areas of differing density within Wescape, interspersed with access to green facilities and recreational opportunities.
Q:How many jobs will be created by Wescape?
Through the life cycle of the project, Wescape will create around 300 000 jobs both directly and indirectly.

Location

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:Where is Wescape located?
Wescape is located north of the R304 and west of the N7, north-east of Melkbosstrand.

Q:Why choose this location for Wescape?
There is an opportunity for growth in the north-western areas of the City of Cape Town. Wescape is situated within the Western Growth Corridor. The City of Cape Town’s Medium to Long-Term Growth Options Study indicates that there are only two directions in which the city can grow; up the West Coast towards Saldanha (Western Growth Corridor) and northwards towards Fisantekraal (Northern Growth Corridor). Wescape will be located in this area of future growth and will assist in providing solutions to many of the metropole’s economic expansion requirements.
Q:Why not build Wescape closer to the city centre?
There is limited space for growth in the city

The City of Cape Town has limited options for growth beyond the current boundaries of the urban edge. Cape Town is surrounded by valuable farmland, biodiversity corridors and mountainous terrain that are unsuitable for development. The City of Cape Town’s Medium to Long-Term Growth Options Study indicates that there are only two directions in which the city can grow; up the West Coast towards Saldanha (Western Growth Corridor) and northwards towards Fisantekraal (Northern Growth Corridor). Wescape must be seen within the context of the Western Growth Corridor, which will link the city in the south with Atlantis in the north. Wescape constitutes approximately one third of this corridor.

The costs of developing land in the inner-city are high

High demand for property in the city centre and within the urban edge drives up property prices as well as the costs of building residential developments. According to City of Cape Town estimates, approximately 10 000ha of land will be required to address the 400 000 housing backlog (IDP Review 2011/2012). The City of Cape Town 2010 document entitled Evaluation of Developable Land within the Urban Edge claims that there is net residential land available of around 7 700ha to 8 600ha within the urban edge which could be used for development at a medium population density. This could cater for 192 000 to 215 000 dwelling units; around half of the housing backlog.

Long transactional times and the high costs associated with developing many small sites

Even the land available within the urban edge is subject to certain constraints that cause it to be unsuitable for developing affordable housing. Because almost half this land is privately owned and because many small scale sites would have to be developed rather than a single large scale site, the costs of development on this land would drive up the price of the finished product; homes. Therefore, developing on this land would raise costs dramatically, and homes built on these sites would not be affordable, especially to lower income earners. Developing on land further from the CBD where land prices are lower allows Wescape to provide better quality homes in an affordable bracket.

The scale of Wescape and the opportunity for integration

Wescape is an ambitious development that views city building holistically as a long term project. The size of the development, with all of its integrated services and amenities, such as schools, clinics, tertiary education institutions, public open spaces and community facilities, would not be possible at a site closer to the CBD.

Q:Is Wescape a “leap frog” development?
Wescape is not a “leap frog” development; rather, it is development of the western corridor of Cape Town. The Atlantis Corridor, north of Milnerton, is owned by a small number of land owners. Two companies in particular own a large portion of the land: Garden Cities and Milnerton Estate. Those companies are driven by their own particular development model, which is the same as the Parklands and Sunningdale developments.

While these developments have their place in the future growth of Cape Town, they do not provide suitable homes for lower income households. These developments that will eventually occupy the space between Milnerton and Wescape will not address the needs of the majority of people in need of homes. While it may appear that there is land available for development south of Wescape, it is already privately owned and banked for future middle income development.

Homes

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:Will Wescape be a low-cost housing development?
No, Wescape will consist of different types of homes, catering for the large market for houses in Cape Town. Half of all the homes developed will be affordable for those households who fall into the GAP market (the gap housing market consists of households who typically earn too much to qualify for government subsidised housing, but too little to participate in the current private property market). The other half will be placed on the open market, aimed at households with income levels above the subsidy eligibility bands.
Q:What type of homes will be built in Wescape?
There will be a range of unit types in Wescape to provide a variety of housing and lifestyle choices. In higher density areas, close to main roads and transport links, units will range between seven-storey apartment blocks and three-storey walk-ups, to row housing and some single-story buildings. In lower density areas, further from public transport and main roads, there will be freestanding homes.

Wescape’s Landscape and Urban Design will create distinct neighbourhoods and identities in each neighbourhood. The types of homes in these neighbourhoods will be specifically designed to create local variety and a sense of identity.

Q:What number of homes will be allocated for the GAP market?
Half of the homes in Wescape (100 000) will available for the GAP market in the current subsidy eligibility band (the gap housing market consists of households who typically earn too much to qualify for government subsidised housing, but too little to participate in the current private property market).
Q:Why does Wescape include such a large number of homes?
The City of Cape Town’s population growth rate has been consistently higher than the total South African population growth rate during the period of 2001-2011. In 2011, total population was 3.7 million, up from 2.9 million in 2001, and this is projected to grow to 4.7 million by 2021, and 5.8 million by 2031.

The dramatic increase in population over the past two decades has resulted in severe development pressure and a significant shortage of housing opportunities, especially in the affordable housing market. Based on actual delivery, the City is currently able to provide around 8 400 opportunities per year. At the moment the City has 150 000 housing opportunities in the 10 to 15 year pipeline. This is less than 10% of the real and pressing need for housing opportunities in the lower and GAP income ranges. (The gap housing market consists of households who typically earn too much to qualify for government subsidised housing, but too little to participate in the current private property market).

Given the current rate of construction of houses it would take 33 years to house a further 200 000 households, or 66 years to house the current backlog of 400 000 without taking into account natural population growth. Wescape will accommodate a significant number people in the lower income bracket who comprise a large proportion of the demand for homes in Cape Town.

Q:What will Wescape’s density be?
The average gross density of Wescape will be in the range of 65 du/ha (dwelling units per hectare). This is comparable to the current density of Sea Point. The City’s Spatial Development Framework aims to achieve a minimum average gross base density of 25 du/ha in the next 20–30 years.

The density of 65 du/ha will be spread out over areas of differing density within Wescape, interspersed with access to green facilities and recreational opportunities. Higher densities of development will be located along areas that are well serviced by public transport, access to jobs, goods and services. Lower densities will be located at appropriate areas along the edge of urban centres and between walkable community precincts defined by green edges.

These densities are capable of supporting regular and integrated public transport.

Infrastructure

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:Who will pay for the infrastructure needed to support Wescape, like water and sewerage pipes, roads and electric lines?
Wescape is a project of communiTgrow, a private urban development company. Wescape will develop all the bulk services required, including infrastructure for water, energy, waste and all internal roads. Unlike other developments, Wescape has built provision of bulk services into its economic model. This will not incur any costs for the City of Cape Town.
Q:What will Wescape cost taxpayers?
The development of Wescape will not incur any direct costs to the taxpayer. There is existing public investment previously committed to the area that will impact Wescape. A portion of this investment has already been implemented, for example, the extension of the IRT bus service through the Western Corridor to Atlantis. Existing plans for the upgrading of the Atlantis railway line into a commuter line have been earmarked as part of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) prioritisation system. Wescape will continue to improve the efficient use of these services.

Transport

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:Will Wescape promote non-motorised transport like walking and cycling?
Yes, Wescape settlements will be designed in such a way that all the facilities necessary to work, live, play and travel are located within walking distance. Pedestrian pathways, non-motorised transport (NMT) routes and high densities will all contribute to a pedestrian-oriented environment. The introduction of a well-run, functioning, well designed public transportation system will eliminate the need for an excessive number of trips using private transportation. Access to everyday facilities and services will be located both within neighbourhoods and the larger regions.

Walkability and design that prioritises pedestrians will increase activity in public spaces, creating natural safety and surveillance.

Q:What public transport services will be available in Wescape?
There will be rail and Integrated Rapid Transit (IRT) bus services available in Wescape.
Q:What rail services will be available in Wescape?
Of key importance to the city’s western corridor is the railway line which runs the length of the Western Growth Corridor to Atlantis. The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) proposes to convert the railway line to commuter rail as the backbone of the corridor, with development opportunities on either side of this public transport corridor. When upgraded to a commuter line, development nodes will grow at the railway stations.
Q:What roads will service Wescape?
On either side of the railway line are important north-south connector routes. The R27 to Saldhana, along which the IRT runs to Atlantis, the M12 connecting Milnerton to Atlantis and the N7 connecting internationally up the west coast of Africa. In an east-west direction, the northern arm of the R300 will pass over the centre of the site bringing in traffic from the N1 and Metro-South-East. It will connect with the M12 in a diamond intersection. The R304 (class 2) from Philadelphia cuts through the northern part of the site and will eventually link all the way across to the R27.

A ladder of routes will create ease of movement throughout Wescape.

Environment

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:Wescape is located on farmland; shouldn’t this be used for farming?
Wescape is located on a site that has an arid and exhausted land and soil system. This means that the land is no longer particularly productive as farmland, and could be put to other uses to create value for the city.
Q:What impact will Wescape have on the land and soil?
Wescape is located on a site that has an arid and exhausted land and soil system characterised by shallow valleys and ridges which are located within the sub-catchment of the Sout River. The urban design of Wescape has taken the soil and water movement into consideration and transport routes are designed to run at the higher levels on the ridges, which will allow for watercourses and natural routes for rain and storm water in the valleys.
Q:What impact will Wescape have on the natural habitat surrounding it?
The natural environment is extremely important, and is of the utmost concern when planning a new development. Wescape has taken the natural habitat of the location into consideration in its design. Over 20% of the total land area at Wescape is given to greening in the form of the central Metropolitan Open Space System (MOSS) which links the biodiversity corridors of the city and runs through the valley system of the site and consists of urban agriculture, forests, civic landscape or bio swales. This will be woven directly into the urban fabric. This will not only regenerate the ecosystem functions but also contribute to creating a distinct and enjoyable living environment.

Wescape provides opportunities for biodiversity and habitat regeneration, which are addressed in various ways. There is an existing fragmented habitat corridor running through the site of Wescape. The water cycle management system will create a central urban waterpark. The design and road drainage systems combined with urban landscape will slow down runoff and optimise groundwater recharge. These elements are integrated into the urban and ecosystem design to support and regenerate evolutionary ecological processes and, where possible, help regenerate ecological processes.

Q:Is Wescape responsive to climate change?
Yes, Wescape is being designed to maximise the re-use of water, utilise solar power in many ways and reduce energy consumption drastically through conscious Urban Design at every scale and through the use of the most appropriate and cutting-edge technologies.
Q:Will Wescape be sustainable?
Yes, Wescape considers principles of sustainability to be of the utmost importance to settlement design. In conventional city systems, water and food are brought into the city and leave the city as waste and pollution carrying away critical resources that have value. By using different systems of water sanitation and urban landscape systems, these resources can be recovered and used locally and deployed into the surrounding district.
Q:Will Wescape be energy and water efficient?
Yes, Wescape’s strategy is to “daisy-chain” (interconnect as many interventions as possible), and obtain a yield from a number of strategies, rather than seeking one single solution. A number of alternative technologies have been designed conceptually and will be developed to increase water recharge, attenuate runoff and increase greening and solid systems.
Q:How will Wescape deal with waste reduction and recycling?
Wescape aims to reduce waste to landfill by up to 90%. Wescape will incorporate viable and sustainable alternatives for waste minimisation and resource recovery and management. Waste could be recycled into three streams: organics will be composted and turned into biogas and biochar; inorganic recyclables will be recycled to base compounds; and inorganic non-recyclable will be processed by Plasma or equivalent treatment. The combination of these will reduce waste to landfill by up to 90%.
Q:Will Wescape promote food security?
Yes, Wescape will use organic and permaculture models for localised food production in both Wescape itself and in the surrounding areas. This will create jobs for a large number of people on the site, and take resolute steps towards reaching food security for residents of the community at a district level.
Q:Will the buildings in Wescape be energy efficient?
Yes, buildings will use intelligent and regenerative design principles, passive cooling and heating, geothermal cooling, solar water heating and LED lighting. The integration of the buildings into their environment – the marriage of built and natural environment – is a key concept in the design of next generation of towns. Sustainable landscaping will be used to reduce the urban heat island effect and improve the water cycle.
Q:Will Wescape include green spaces?
Over 20% of the total land area at Wescape is given to greening, partially the form of the central Metropolitan Open Space System (MOSS) which links the biodiversity corridors of the city and runs through the valley system of the site and consists of urban agriculture, forests, civic landscape or bio swales, the amount of land set aside for nature is extensive. This will be woven directly into the urban fabric. This will not only regenerate the ecosystem functions but also contribute to creating a distinct and enjoyable living environment.

 

Finance

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:Who is financing Wescape?
The financing for Wescape will be provided by a range of private investors. The long-term nature and sound economic model of Wescape is an attractive investment opportunity that promises long-term returns.
Q:What guarantees are in place to make sure that funding will not stop mid-project?
Wescape is a large-scale development with a 20 year delivery time frame, addressing the development and growth needs of the city. Wescape addresses this market demand with a business and job creation model to develop asset value, affordability and responsible ownership of assets. The property development portfolio is structured to generate returns for investors. This is an attractive model for funders who are looking to African continental growth as a place to invest over the next several decades.

Economy

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:How will Wescape create an economy and jobs?
Initially, the construction and development required to build the infrastructure and homes in Wescape will provide a large number of jobs. These initial jobs will grow as the facilities and services required for the Wescape residents and commerce develop over the 20 year process of building Wescape. Furthermore, because Wescape is a long-term, ongoing development with a steady delivery cycle, it allows access to a supply value chain that contributes to the developmental investments. In this way, the labour based economy that is initially formed in the construction of Wescape transitions towards a knowledge and green economy over the phases of the project. This jobs market, together with high quality facilities, attracts a broad spectrum of investors and developments.

Q:Which companies have committed to establishing places of employment in Wescape?
Many companies who are suppliers of goods and services in the Built Environment have expressed an interest in participating in Wescape. These sectors include construction, materials supply, health and education. These companies are also interested in engaging with the community building and developmental goals of the project. Access to a steady market demand, especially in housing, makes Wescape an attractive opportunity to deploy productive and other resource capacities on favourable terms.
Q:What will be the primary industries created in Wescape?
The primary industries that will be created in Wescape are construction, local manufacturing and enterprise, green services, financial services, public and civic services and commercial and retail.

Community

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:How will Wescape maintain a high standard of living after the development is complete?
Wescape, unlike other developments, is not merely the provision of houses. Wescape includes in its conception the social and cultural features that shape a community, and takes into account the unique challenges and opportunities of building communities in Cape Town. Wescape understands that building houses alone does not weave a strong social fabric.

The building of structures is the first step of building a community and Wescape will cultivate a culture of social involvement that is overseen by sound governance structures. These governance structures are outlined in the Governance Pillar of the communiTgrow model.

Q:Does the public have input into Wescape’s design?
Wescape has fostered, and will continue to foster, many opportunities for creative conversations about the common vision for this development. Wescape aims to contribute to understanding the purpose of this place in the life of Cape Town and Capetonians. Many sectors and individuals will need to contribute to the design process as the life of Wescape unfolds.

Urban Planning

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:Will Wescape residents need to commute to the CBD for their needs?
The design of Wescape is intently focused on building local economy and services in a way that residents will be able to live, work, and play in one place. By concentrating on factors beyond merely residential development, Wescape will be a self-sufficient city that will not require residents to travel to the CBD for all of their needs. Much like the suburbs of Bellville, Somerset West, or Muizenberg, Wescape will not depend on the CBD to satisfy the needs of its residents.

Wescape is located in an area that is still developing, but it is only a 25 minute drive from the CBD (25-34km). In terms of driving distance, Wescape is in a similar range as Durbanville (29km), Bellville (26km), Khayelitsha (31km) and Kuils River (32km).

Q:Is Wescape located outside of Cape Town’s urban edge?
Wescape is located directly adjacent to land identified for potential development in the short- and medium-term by the City of Cape Town’s Spatial Development Framework. The City of Cape Town document Urban Edge Guidelines Manual for the City of Cape Town indicates that applications for the amendment of the urban edge are evaluated on their own merits and in terms of the specific local context.

Q:Is Wescape in contradiction with the principle of inner-city development?
Inner-city development and development outside of the CBD are not mutually exclusive. There is a massive demand for housing in Cape Town, and with the population projected to grow over the next 20 years this demand will only continue to rise. Development of the inner city is necessary, but both inner city development and new developments are needed to plan for the city’s future if there are to be enough homes and economic development to accommodate Cape Town’s population.
Q:How will Wescape affect Atlantis?
Wescape offers a unique opportunity to the City to facilitate the Western Growth Corridor of Cape Town by bringing in bulk services financed by the developer; and through introducing ground-breaking developmental and regenerative principles that will create a sustainable settlement.

The facilitation of the development of this corridor will create the vital link between the Atlantis community and the rest of the city, integrating the area spatially and economically into the greater economy. The economic growth that will result from Wescape will provide job opportunities for residents of Atlantis, where unemployment rates are extremely high.

Q:What makes Wescape different from other large-scale projects previously built in Cape Town?

Wescape is focused on building a sustainable economic model that integrates commercial, civic and residential activities.

Wescape differs from other large-scale developments built in Cape Town because its model is intently focused on a long-term vision of both societal and economic development. The aim of Wescape is integration, both within the development and within the city at large.

The city remains spatially divided on the basis of race and class. Although there are indications that the level of integration has increased, significant levels of integration are confined to only a few suburbs in Cape Town. The relatively new suburbs of Parklands and Sunningdale are primary examples of new integration. Wescape, based on the communiTgrow approach to city building, differs dramatically from previous large-scale developments in Cape Town both in ideology and in method.

Unlike the apartheid models of development, Wescape does not neglect the aspects essential for a community to succeed in the long-term: building a sustainable local economy, respecting the environment and instituting sound structures of governance.

Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha, Atlantis and several other large scale developments in the city were townships built to serve the Apartheid Government’s segregation agenda. Areas like Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha were built in the 1970s and 1980s as dormitory suburbs with rudimentary rental housing, infrastructure and facilities.

Because of the shortage of accommodation in these areas, subletting of rooms and backyard shacks became common. This caused severe overcrowding and overloaded sewage systems, infrastructure, schools and other public facilities. Atlantis was built on similar principles as a segregated township far from any commercial activity in the city. Its purpose was to provide labour for a local industrial economy. However, the incentives to keep businesses in the area were not sustainable, and because of this firms eventually relocated.

Wescape takes into account the pitfalls that caused commercial activity to leave Atlantis and is focused on building a sustainable economic model that integrates commercial, civic and residential activities.

Koeberg Nuclear Power Station

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:Is Wescape located in the 16km Koeberg Emergency Evacuation Zone?
Yes, Wescape, like Melkbosstrand, Blouberg Strand and Atlantis, lies within the 16km Emergency Evacuation Zone for Koeberg Nuclear Power Station. This means that an evacuation plan is needed for the area in case of an emergency.
Q:Is it safe for Wescape to be located in the 16km Koeberg Emergency Evacuation Zone?
Wescape, like Melkbosstrand, Blouberg Strand and Atlantis, lies within the 16km Emergency Evacuation Zone for Koeberg Nuclear Power Station. This means that an evacuation plan is needed for the area in case of an emergency.

The relevant plans and guidelines are being factored into the spatial and movement design of Wescape. This is an aspect that will affect much of the development in Western Growth Corridor and will be addressed in conjunction with the Cape Town metro together with other disaster risk strategies relevant to the City.

 

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