Central City Development Strategy

What is the Central City Development Strategy?

In August of 2007 the City of Cape Town and the Cape Town Partnership joined forces to begin a process to create a shared vision for the future of the Central City.  Key to achieving any significant outcomes was the creation of a shared developmental path with clear implementation plans.

Specific goals of the programme include transforming the Central City into a premier business location; a high quality sustainable urban environment; a popular destination for Capetonians and visitors; a leading centre for knowledge, innovation, creativity and culture in Africa and the South; and a place that embodies the heart and soul of Cape Town.

Re-imagining Cape Town

The vision for the Central City boldly states that “in the next ten years, the Cape Town Central City will grow and greatly enhance its reputation as a dynamic business and people centre.”  Over the past decade the Partnership has focussed much of its efforts on basic urban management issues whilst the City of Cape Town actively readdressed issues of equitable service delivery.  Having made great strides in these areas, the time is right to turn our attention to the future of our city.

What will Cape Town look like in the future?

The Cape Town Central City plays an important role within the economic, social, cultural and political life of the region. It represents over 25% of business turnover in the City. It is a destination for Capetonians and visitors, a place of many education and training institutions, location of important sectors of the regional economy, and the site of all three spheres of Government and the South African National Parliament. Given its significance, that it succeeds and continues to attract investors, locals and visitors is not negotiable.

The purpose of the CCDS is to inspire and to capture the public imagination about what the future of the Central City can be. The aim is to mobilise stakeholders around a shared vision and specific strategies, and to generate a measurable delivery plan, in order to manage growth and lead change over the next 10 years.

CCDS Boundaries with Focus Areas

The Central City Development Strategy is not an isolated project, but falls within a number of other planning programmes within the City of Cape Town.  The City Development Strategy, the Integrated Development Plan and the Integrated Zoning Scheme all rely on inputs from CCDS.


Phase 1 of the CCDS saw the development of a common vision through a series of public participation processes which led to a number of projects whose aim it was to activate and guide public and private development in the central city.  Twenty distinct precincts with boundaries were identified, mapped and fully described as part of the Character Precincts project.  In addition a draft urban design framework was completed, utilising a newly-created GIS land based management tool in which issues of height, density, supporting infrastructure, transportation routes and parking were captured.

Areas of focus for study and incorporation in to the CCDS processes were the initial work done on public space management, infrastructure capacity audit, improved public transport and residential development. In an effort to communicate the CCDS progress to all stakeholders and to gain additional inputs, a Popular Document on the project was published in October 2008.

Download a print quality version of the map.

Download the CCDS popular document here

In Phase 2 of the CCDS programme further development of the 20 Character Precincts produced a report which renames this component as the Development Guidelines for Land Use Management. DGLUM is currently an informant to several other zoning and regulatory processes and may become official City of Cape Town policy soon. Its value is that it attempts to translate the private and public sector development visions, aims and frameworks into a set of clear guidelines that provide a consistent basis for development decision-making by public officials and at the same time give direction and certainty to the private sector.

In response to other aspects explored in the first phase, the CCDS continued its efforts and saw further expansion of the Land Use databases that greatly assisted with development facilitation, the redevelopment and upgrades of significant public spaces in town such as Grand Parade, Greenmarket Square, St Andrew’s Square, St Georges Mall,  CT Stadium and Green Point Urban Park, cooperative management of public spaces has show positive results in the appearance, operations, and activities in places such as Greenmarket Square, St Andrew’s Square and St Georges Mall, significant NMT improvements such as pedestrian ways on Waterkant St and cycle lanes on Bree, public transport upgrades – initial phases of IRT, CT Station redevelopment and Metrorail improvements, development of protocols and incentives to promote energy efficiency, introduction of two bin waste management (Zibi), more vibrant economic activity including afterhour activity.

As we head into Phase 3 of CCDS we will focus on ongoing initiatives centered around expanding our infrastructure assessment and determining  infrastructure capacity implications and constraints. Of vital importance is our support and enhancement of the Integrated Rapid Transport network currently being implemented in the Central City. Continued work is required in the areas of capturing more detailed land use data, developing innovative public space management systems, incorporating sustainability principles into all projects and finding workable solutions for increasing density and providing affordable housing.

How will we know if CCDS has been successful?

Because we recognise that unforeseen events occur (like global recessions) and attitudes shift (such as the ongoing gees since the Soccer World Cup) over a period of time, we set out a “checklist” to gage the impact of our achievements during this dynamic process.  We can claim success in a few areas and strive to go forward in a few others still:

  • A steady increase in the sense of belonging and common identity amongst Capetonians
  • Growth in number of businesses, jobs, enterprises, livelihoods and investments
  • The hosting of a successful 2010 World Cup
  • The Green Point Stadium, a major new events facility, with a sustainable operations plan
  • The new Green Point Urban Park and Sports Complex
  • Completion of District Six redevelopment, and a tripling of Central City residential population, with at least 20% in affordable housing
  • Completion of CTICC expansion and upgrade of Good Hope Centre
  • An expanded V&A Waterfront, with increased residential population and mixed-use developments
  • Consensus on a cruise liner strategy for Southern and Eastern Africa, and the possible construction of a cruise liner terminal
  • Completion of upgrade of Cape Town Station and roll-out of new, mixed use precinct above sunken railway lines
  • New Integrated Rapid Transport system and enhanced train services, with greater numbers of people using public transport
  • New long-distance bus terminus
  • Resolution of issue of incomplete foreshore freeways
  • Greater access to the sea, to water and to the mountain
  • Enhanced pedestrian space network, upgraded and well-managed public spaces, with more public art
  • More evening and weekend activities
  • Increased number of visitors, conferences, exhibitions, meetings, events, hotels, city businesses turnover
  • Managed trading in outdoor markets with a wider mix of goods
  • More energy- and water-efficient buildings and new green buildings
  • Waste and pollution minimisation and recycling programmes in majority of buildings
  • Higher levels of safety and security, cleansing and urban management
  • Higher levels of social services addressing the needs of the poor and homeless
  • The City Hall as a premier music and cultural centre
  • Expansion of creative hubs in the East City, Company’s Gardens and Foreshore precincts and the recognition of the Central City as a cultural and knowledge hub
  • Better integration of the Culemborg precinct into the Central City

Note: this list of potential achievements is illustrative, and does not necessarily indicate that a particular authority has given approvals at this stage.

Have a suggestion for inclusion in our list, or inputs to the CCDS processes, please send through to Cape Town Partnership

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