Green Neighbourhood Project

Kyalami GREEN NEIGHBOURHOOD PROJECT

The City of Johannesburg is facing serious social and environmental problems that can only be overcome through innovation and cooperation.  Africa’s urbanization rates are among the highest in the world.  In order to achieve a sustainable, liveable, resilient and inclusive City as outlined in the Joburg 2040 Growth and Development Strategy (GDS).  The Greater Kyalami Conservancy (GEKCO) is launching the GREEN NEIGHBOURHOOD PROJECT.  The aim is to develop a GREEN NEIGHBOURHOOD model as a vehicle to implement the aims of the GDS 2040 in cooperation with the City of Joburg. 

What is a GREEN NEIGHBOURHOOD?

A GREEN NEIGHBOURHOOD is an internationally recognised concept for alleviating climate change pressures by creating sustainable & energy efficient communities.

GREEN NEIGHBOURHOODS encourage community development where: public and non-motorised transport, energy efficiency, sustainable practices, and the protection of open space are the guiding principles.

How is a GREEN NEIGHBOURHOOD achieved?

It is a community driven initiative encouraging participation and cooperation with government and relevant stakeholders to find address environmental and social issues.  It requires a commitment from its residents to a vision of sustainability which is achievable through cooperation.  The community is encouraged to participate in the development planning process through submission of a community plan or vision to be considered in the IDP (Integrated Development Plan) or RSDF (Regional Spatial Development Framework) which form part of the City’s master plan.

Kyalami GREEN NEIGHBOURHOOD principles:

‘When we care for nature, there is more for all’

Find Cooperative solutions to:

  • Reduce waste
  • Save water
  • Save energy
  • Increase food security
  • Promote healthy & secure living
  • Assist marginalised communities
  • Protect open space and biodiversity
  • Promote walking, cycling and public transport

The Greater Kyalami Conservancy:

The Greater Kyalami Conservancy is comprised of approximately 1400 agricultural properties located between the urban centres of Midrand and Fourways.  It is home to a vibrant equestrian industry that approximately 50% of the residents contribute to.  This creates employment for thousands of people, the majority of whom are resident in the area.  The requirement of large properties for horse riding, stabling and grazing has provided a buffer around sensitive wetland systems and has enabled the preservation of numerous species of wildlife that would otherwise not be found in an urban environment.

The equestrian facilities and stabling are utilized by horse owners and riders throughout Gauteng and the Gauteng Horse Society attracts up to 20 000 visitors from around the country for its regular competitions.  The area has an extensive bridle trail network utilized not only by horse riders, but also for mountain biking, trail running, and birding.  The area is rich in wetlands with a few remaining pockets of the highly endangered Egoli Granite grassland and provides habitat for approximately 250 species of birds, black-backed jackal, genet, otter, hedgehog, porcupine, African bullfrog, water monitor, and numerous others.

The human – environment system
Environmental studies often only consider protecting pristine areas of “unspoilt” nature.   However with the increase in urbanization there very few remaining natural areas left in Gauteng.  What remains are often semi-rural, impacted areas within and around human settlements.  In the Kyalami area large equestrian properties have created a buffer around pockets of pristine natural areas such as wetlands, endangered grasslands, rocky outcrops and ridges.

The pressures on marginalised communities:

A few kilometres away are the townships of Diepsloot & Olievenhoutbosh, marginalised communities living in poverty conditions with a host of serious health and environmental risks.   Urgent attention is needed to address issues of housing and infrastructure namely sewage, water supply and the safe provision of electricity.  With the pressures ranging from a shortage of jobs, transport problems, climate change, lack of available land for housing, a national water scarcity and the energy shortage – these communities will be hit the hardest.

As a result of overcrowding and poverty, the residents of these suburbs do not have access to sufficient land to meet their basic needs.  To achieve a resilient, inclusive city will require cooperation between communities with different levels of income.   An opportunity exists to implement food security initiatives in neighbouring, less populated areas such as the Kyalami area. The protection of green belts, biodiversity and wetlands will mitigate climate change and the potential of further environmental stress.  Partnerships can be formed between communities where, for example, Diepsloot residents can benefit from the open space of neighbouring communities through equestrian programmes, mountain biking, and environmental education and partnerships can be formed providing jobs and skills upliftment. 

These are some of the current opportunities identified within the Kyalami / Diepsloot area:

Food Security:

  1. Expand on existing food production schemes
  2. Initiate Agricultural College – training in animal husbandry, nursery management and sustainable farming
  3. Local organic market
  4. Promote community gardens
  5. Educate residents in Kyalami and Diepsloot in organic vegetable gardening

Upliftment / Awareness:

  1. Partnerships between communities to promote job creation.  Assisting Diepsloot businesses to market their products within the Kyalami community.
  1. Cooperative clean and green community events with Kyalami, Diepsloot and surrounding suburbs

Promote integrated, people-centred transport:

  1. Cycle lanes promoted along the current Nichol (R511) and Main road (R55) upgrade
  2. Educate residents and taxi drivers to the sensitivities of the area and safe driving around horses
  3. Find alternatives to the proposed K56, PWV5 and PWV9 provincial roads
  4. Promote working from or close to home
  5. Encourage the City to adopt spatial development guidelines promoting this

Promote recycling:

  1. Partnership with the Diepsloot Buyback Centre
  2. Install recycling bins in public areas
  3. Educate residents in recycling and composting of wet waste
  4. Encourage events to make use of the Diepsloot Buyback Centre

Environmental Education:

  1. Educate residents on what it is to live in a “Green Neighbourhood’
  2. Link Kyalami schools with schools in Diepsloot and Olievenhoutbosh
  3. Create wetland and biodiversity walks aligned to national environmental curriculum

Protection of water, land and biodiversity:        

  1. Interactive web forum for logging sightings of birds and mammals
  2. Map biodiversity corridors within the area
  3. Educate residents in care and rehabilitation of wetlands, grasslands and wildlife habitat
  4. Involvement in planning processes to ensure protection of wetlands and open space
  5. Enforcement of environmental protection of sensitive areas

Promote green building practices:

  1. Host Green Neighbourhood workshops on efficiency and sustainable living
  2. Develop a website with information and links to business providing these services

Recreation:

  1. Organise mountain biking and trail running outings
  2. Equestrian events and activities
  3. Horse riding schools and children’s farm party venues
  4. Invite Diepsloot residents to participate in sporting events
  5. Develop an eco-trail on Leeukop prison that will also act as a biodiversity corridor

30 May 2013

Comments are closed.