GCRO: Location of proposed mega-housing projects in terms of the Gauteng Environment Management Framework

In February 2015, the Gauteng Premier proposed a series of planned mega-housing projects for the Gauteng Province in his SOPA. Since decisive spatial change is one of the key pillars of Gauteng’s medium-term vision, the June Map of the Month looks at the alignment of the planned mega-housing projects and the Gauteng Environment Management Framework (GPEMF), which is a newly developed tool by GDARD to negotiate trade-offs between development and the environment. The map aims to identify overlaps between the general location of mega-housing projects and High Control Zones contained within the GPEMF.

The GPEMF was developed to guide, and significantly reduce, regulatory requirements for development in the Gauteng province. Gazetted in May 2015, the purpose of this tool, which aligns with the Gauteng Growth and Management Perspective (2014), is to significantly reduce the red tape associated with environmental authorisations for development and the cost of conducting business in the province.

Derived by defining desired state, environmental sensitivity and unique control areas, the GPEMF identifies five Environmental Management Zones (EMZ), which are explained in more detail in the GPEMF report available on the GDARD website (http://www.gdard.gpg.gov.za/). The purpose of these zones is to inform the appropriate location for development in the province, while protecting and conserving the natural environment. In addition to the EMZs, a further six Special Management Areas are identified by the GPEMF. Each of these management areas has specific development objectives that warrant a particular management approach. Examples of these areas include the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site and Dinokeng.

The map indicates that the Urban Development Zone (Zone 1) identified by the GPEMF covers a much larger extent than the existing built up areas of the province, shown by the existing urban land cover layer. The map also depicts that the general location of the proposed mega-housing projects largely falls inside the urban development zone (zone 1), with five planned housing projects located outside of this zone – Droogeheuwel farm, Sterkwater, Syferfontein, Savanna City and Boiketlong. Identified to fall within the High Control Zones, these five housing projects overlap with sensitive environmental areas earmarked for conservation and/or protection. These areas of overlap flag a difference between the GPEMF and the planned mega-housing projects. For example, the Boiketlong area is located within a conservation priority zone in terms of the GPEMF. While the development is not compatible with the GPEMF guidelines for the zone, it does not mean that the development should not take place. This area shows how environmental decision support tools can be used to guide the development decision making process.

Read the full article on http://www.gcro.ac.za/maps-gis/map-of-the-month.

Written by: Simon Mafu, Marc Leroy and Rina Taviv

GCRO map of the month June 2015: GEMF housing mega projects