The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBSA) recently launched their new Sustainable Precinct Category. Leading property developer, Abland, has two precincts enrolled in the GBSA’s pilot study: Sandton Gate, on William Nicol Drive, Johannesburg and; Loftus Park, adjacent to Loftus Versfeld sport stadium in Pretoria.
Grant Silverman, Abland’s Marketing Director explains: “We believe that no building or development exists in isolation. Each has a relationship with the surrounding urban environment. At Abland we conceptualise each development with the urban fabric in mind.”
The Green/Sustainable Precinct Rating may eventually become the ultimate achievement for property developers. At present, Abland has 13 precinct developments in the pipeline with 9 currently underway.
To achieve its Green Stars, a precinct is rated against five categories, each requiring a minimum score to ensure a holistic approach, namely: Governance, Liveability, Economic Prosperity, Environment and Innovation.
Laetitia Cook, Abland’s Green Star Accredited Professional explains the process: “It starts with sustainable design principles being applied at a neighbourhood scale to large mixed-use projects. It’s all about creating healthy spaces that enable multipurpose use. This has to be done whilst reducing the ecological footprint of the development to make it environmentally sustainable.”
“Landlords are usually keen to participate in a stakeholders forum as they all have the same purpose. Sustainable financing is created from income generating initiatives in the precinct alongside small monthly contributions by each stakeholder. This allows for beautification and continuous maintenance of the precinct,” states Cook.
“Generally, local municipalities are eager to become involved with developers who reach out to assist them in improving their functionality,” explains Silverman.
Below are a few initiatives generally considered to improve precincts. These include:
- Integrate the project seamlessly into the urban neighbourhood
- Plan to optimise space, functionality and movement
- Link to public transport and make provision for various modes thereof
- Focus explicitly on the safety and security of all precinct users
- Create pedestrian friendly precincts with integrated wayfinding
- Be environmentally conscious. From the selection of material to the construction process and disposal of refuse
- Be generous with landscaping but stick to hardy indigenous plants and water-wise irrigation, preferably using grey water
- Supplement with renewable energy sources that reduce operating costs and provide redundancy
- Cater for hybrids, electric vehicles, bikes and bicycles
- Include water harvesting – be it rainwater, grey water, or groundwater and include water and power saving technology
- Facilitate lifestyle by including a variety of amenities such as healthy outdoor opportunities, cafés, art, convenience retail and spaces for entertainment
- Include educational opportunities for schools, tertiary institutions and the public in general
- Futureproof the precinct by allowing for diverse spatial functionality, shared spaces, open to integration, and proper connectivity
- Ensure a professionally maintained and managed precinct
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