The Stellenbosch Municipality’s Heritage Survey and Conservation Management Plan have just won the Presidential Award of the Institute of Landscape Architecture (ILASA). In response to this honour, the mayor, Advocate Gesie van Deventer, has said that it is imperative for a town with the exceptional heritage of Stellenbosch to have good guidelines to manage this heritage and appropriate that there is recognition if it is done well.
In addition to ILASA’s highest honour, the Heritage Survey and Conservation Plan also won the award for the most innovative project of the year as well as an award for the best publication of the year.
Liana Jansen and a multi-disciplinary team commissioned by the Municipality completed the management plan earlier this year. Professor Fabio Todescini, the co-leader of the project, died unexpectedly last year after having completed the penultimate phase of the project.
Experts have previously described the plan as highly innovative. The plan documents structures and heritage landscapes and at the same time establishes this heritage in spatial planning. It is the first such plan in South Africa and also one of the first in the world. An assumption of the plan is that heritage is an ongoing, dynamic process that includes both the diversity of cultures and the unique natural environment.
Regions in the district were assessed and rated according to ecological, aesthetic, social, historical and economic norms. Each rating indicates the management responsibilities of the municipality for the region.
In her comments, the mayor says that the plan brings together the rich complexity of heritage and environment in Stellenbosch and establishes it in a legal governance framework. The plan is open and accessible to residents and creates opportunities for them to participate in heritage management.
The heritage survey and management plan for conservation are on the Stellenbosch Heritage Foundation website. The Foundation houses this plan as well as an initial first heritage survey for the historic town centre of Stellenbosch.