The delivery of housing creates many opportunities within a city for resident communities. The importance of delivering substantial housing to urban communities is upheld as one of the country’s major strategic development initiatives. The integrated development plan IDP makes reference to aligning national policy objectives with Spatial Development Frameworks and national budgets. Housing delivery being an important objective within the City’s growth and development strategy, shall support governments Growths Management Strategy GMS.
The housing initiative supports local Governments development strategies of urban densification, nodal management and improved movement systems. The proposal site and the precinct of Bertrams are located on the recently implemented BRT route. The locality of Bertrams on the eastern periphery of the city portrays a valuable developmental opportunity for meaningful urban renewal. The urban precinct offers a variety of advantages. The close proximity to Ellis Park offers facilities such as the swimming pools, tennis courts, and recreation spaces. The inherent potential that exists within Bertrams is of huge value to future communities and to the city at large.
Urban Design Vision
This proposal offers an urban design approach to the renewal of the neighbourhood of Bertrams.
The approach to be followed will include the defining of precincts rather than the redevelopment of individual sites. This approach will encourage the possibility of developing on a larger scale and includes elements such as the upgrading of streets, sidewalks, street furniture, landscaping, and the creation of community spaces. The nature of the suburb is one of a neighbourhood quality. Important ingredients are the corner shop, the ability to gather on the street corner and interact with neighbours. The neighbourhood offers the choice to walk down the road to the local creche or community centre.
Notwithstanding the decline of the inner city as a catalyst for redevelopment, the status quo and the underlying structure of the area adds a foundation for re-building. The urban fabric that has survived the neglect and transition of many communities offers a richness and a heritage that is worthy of conservation. The renewal process embarked upon by the JDA is sensitive to a tenuous heritage that requires a conservation approach to redevelopment.
The current service infrastructure requires upgrade on a large scale. The infrastructure of Bertrams is ageing and devoid of maintenance. Strom water, sewer, water and electricity require capital investment. The road network is efficient and established and reinforces the character of the neighbourhood. This is evident in the streetscapes and the positive response that buildings give facing the street. In the process of the service upgrade streets shall be retained but should be resurfaced with a variety of more appropriate materials. The fine grain urban form is a reflection of relatively small stands being developed over time by individual speculators or home owners. The results of this urban form are unique and characteristic of older suburbs with encouraged individuality and employed architectural solutions to enhance variety.