• Staff writer


A new quantitative study has revealed that the location of housing development in Johannesburg is key to lowering carbon emissions. This research was undertaken by a partnership between Divercity Urban Property Fund and the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA).

South Africa has committed to addressing climate change under the Paris Agreement. Supporting this, Joburg’s new Climate Action Plan aims for the city’s emissions – primarily from transportation and stationary energy – to peak by 2030 and then decline towards net-zero by 2050. It is developing policies to shift to a lower carbon built environment. If these pledges are to become a reality, the research shows that we need to act now and change how we develop housing in Johannesburg, which is urbanising rapidly.

Currently, the dominant mode of affordable housing delivery in South Africa confines lower-income households to the urban periphery – far from economic opportunities and essential services such as healthcare, schools, jobs and parks.

The study compared carbon emissions from an urban periphery housing development model to those generated by housing development in the urban core, and also analysed the transport emissions of residents associated with living in each location.

In short, the research proves that the current dominant model of affordable housing delivery in South Africa generates significantly higher carbon emissions and counteracts the aims of Johannesburg’s Climate Action Plan and South Africa’s climate change commitments. In light of this finding, the study shows that urban sprawl, reliance on private car travel and long car trips should be discouraged through spatial planning. In its place, urban densification, access to opportunities, and fewer, shorter private car trips should be encouraged. This approach will help connect people to economic opportunity, break apartheid spatial patterns and retrofit existing settlements.

www.divercity.co.za www.gbcsa.org.za

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