Heritage Forum

The spatial development framework for the Stellenbosch Corridor

Aug 16, 2022 | Forum, News

The local spatial development framework (LSDF) for the Adam Tas Corridor (or Stellenbosch Corridor) published by Stellenbosch Municipality, aims to bring hope and create sustainable growth.

The Corridor brings this vision closer for all our citizens. It will create conditions necessary for lasting growth and continual renewal — for generations to come. It will do so by building neighbourhoods where the home, places of work and education are within easy reach of one another. It will integrate people’s day-to-day lives with their surrounding areas. It means an active partnership between all stakeholders.

People, movement, and resources

Central to the design of the Corridor will be the movement of people. There will be safe and convenient public transport, a new emphasis on attractive pedestrian walkways and shaded, green and accessible public spaces.

The Corridor does not take up new land but brings new energy to neglected areas, while it will also connect to the old town to add vivacity. It aligns with the stated strategic aims of the Municipality: better public transport, inclusive economic growth, optimal land use, guarding of resources, security of food and agriculture, and care of the built heritage and landscape. At the same time it will also connect to It combines these principles with the idea of compact and innovative towns, liveability, open spaces, neighbourhood schools and diverse housing options.

Stellenbosch needs to act in order to manage growth, traffic congestion, and inequality in housing, transport and public amenities. The Corridor makes it possible to plan and work at scale. It has at its disposal the resources essential to success, namely land and human assets, including the expertise, wisdom, and energy of every resident.

Plan and implementation

The plan and the publication thereof is in itself a significant event.

A detailed plan embedded in policy and with a horizon of decades is a first in South Africa. The innovative approach could be a breakthrough if implemented according to plan. The envisaged process will cut red tape and thus save many millions, which could be used more productively for the public good.

For long, cities grew organically, without specific design. Stellenbosch also grew organically for about 250 years. Even late in this period, individual decisions, like Jannie Marais’ donation to establish a university or Anton Rupert’s rescue of historic buildings, could significantly influence the future character of the town. Today, with larger populations and complexity, cities have to plan to ensure harmony and sustainable growth. Stellenbosch is not an exception. In land size, Stellenbosch is now more than five times bigger than it was a mere seventy years ago.

Stellenbosch development since 1700

The Corridor is critical for the Municipality’s growth management and will allow new ways to deal with space and mobility.

In 1985, Stellenbosch was one of the first Municipalities in South Africa to implement an overlay zone in the Middedorp, almost immediately after the law allowed for that. The Corridor overlay zone is a critical dimension to ensure that the vision aligns with land use rights. It is also one of the mechanisms that will enable agility and speed in implementation.

In practical terms, ± 375 hectares of under-utilised industrial land will accommodate “a new town in town,” with an inclusive economy and mixed residential and business development. It runs along the foot of Pappegaaiberg, from the Cape Sawmill site to Kayamandi and Cloetesville. It includes the central government-owned Droë Dyke area, Distell’s Bergkelder facility and other properties along the Plankenbrug river. Its potential bulk development will be roughly seven times larger than the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town within the existing town space.

We, the people

Sustainable growth and transformation are worthy aims, and the mechanisms to implement them are creative.

Residents now have a unique opportunity to participate in and shape the process. A core assumption is that individuals, groups and communities have binding energies, knowledge and wisdom. The idea for the Corridor originated outside the formal decision-making structures, and initial work on  it came from the concerted efforts of active citizens focusing on creating a liveable future for all. Fundamental principles are to release local energy and facilitate organic growth through incremental steps — for the next twenty to thirty years. The Western Cape Government, Stellenbosch University, the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study, landowners, business leaders and committed citizens all assisted the Municipality in bringing the project to where it is now. It is a testimony of active citizen participation with local government.

Therefore, individuals, organisations and neighbourhood groups have a unique space to formulate their ideas, wishes and criticism into constructive policy proposals. Also, to partner with authorities in local spaces, events and services. Towns that care for the commons create resilience better than towns that ignore the shared wisdom of their citizens.

Therefore, the Stellenbosch Heritage Foundation encourages members and citizens to get involved in these processes that will shape the future of Stellenbosch. An initial comment regarding the Corridor is that we should call it not the Adam Tas Corridor but rather the Stellenbosch Corridor; it channels future hope for all of Stellenbosch.

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