Grabouw Sustainable Development Initiative

Client(s): n/a
Date: 2006 - 2007
Topic: Planning
Partner(s): n/a

The Project Challenge

Elgin-Grabouw lies within the heart of one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world, the Cape Floral Region. The area falls into the transition zone of the internationally recognised Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve and is surrounded by mountain catchment areas and nature reserves. The Sustainable Development Framework (SDF) for Elgin-Grabouw was part of the Grabouw Sustainable Development Initiative (SDI) conceptualised in 2006 and commissioned jointly by the Theewaterskloof (TWK) Municipality and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA).

Principles & Approach

The name Grabouw SDI was adopted by the Client and Consulting Team as the overarching project description to reflect that sustainability is a step-by-step process and cannot be achieved in a quick fix manner or as an end goal but rather steps to put the study area on a sustainability pathway. The principles that underpin sustainability  in the context of this project include the following:
Sustainable balance: to achieve a balance between the ecological and development role of the area over time.
Access: to ensure access to the opportunities and resources of a place for a range of people and activities e.g. access to land as a resource.
Integration: between people of different backgrounds, incomes, culture and experiences of their environment.
Social justice: viewing resources in the interest of society / community, not in the interest of individuals and restoring human dignity where this has been lost.
Based on the broader assets of Grabouw, the proposed Spatial Development Framework sets the area onto a sustainable ‘Green Grabouw’ pathway. It outlines what to protect, what to rehabilitate and where development can and cannot take place on the basis of the biophysical and settlement contextual analysis and the following layers: public structure, water and landscape, heritage and historic preservation, recreation and education, non-motorised and public transport as well as mixed use hubs.
The strategic framework serves as the frame within which the economic, landscape, spatial, settlement and infrastructure proposals are directed. Three overarching strategies are unpacked namely:
Driving the economy
The spatial planning and landscape design strategy – towards a Green settlement; and
Building community, inclusion and partnerships.