Cape Town is ready to be a city of the fu­ture

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

THE WORLD’S pop­u­la­tion is ur­ban­is­ing at a rapid rate, with an es­ti­mated four bil­lion peo­ple – 54 per­cent of the over­all pop­u­la­tion – liv­ing in cities at present.

This is 23 per­cent more than a decade ago, and the per­cent­age is ex­pected to reach 66 per­cent by 2050.

The world’s fastest grow­ing cities are tak­ing cen­tre stage in to­day’s in­no­va­tion econ­omy, and when it comes to prop­erty, sup­ply in most of these cities can­not keep up with de­mand, says John Snow, head of com­mer­cial at Knight Frank Global.

“Tech­nol­ogy and cre­ativ­ity are in­te­gral to these grow­ing eco­nomic hubs, but more than ever, the 2017 Global Cities Re­port by Knight Frank shows that the cur­rent ur­ban econ­omy is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly peo­ple-cen­tric. Whether a city is driven by fi­nance, aero­space, com­modi­ties, de­fence, or man­u­fac­tur­ing, the most im­por­tant as­set is a large pool of ed­u­cated and creative work­ers. Con­se­quently, real es­tate is in­creas­ingly a busi­ness that seeks to build an en­vi­ron­ment that at­tracts and re­tains such peo­ple.”

Al­though Cape Town is not one of the 34 global cities sur­veyed in the lat­est re­port, it does share much of the re­quired ethos that Knight Frank Global lists as be­ing im­per­a­tive to suc­cess­ful city growth, namely in­clu­siv­ity, cre­ativ­ity, in­no­va­tion, and peo­ple-cen­tric­ity. Also, much of Cape Town of­fers ex­treme di­ver­sity, some­thing that is be­com­ing a clear trend in ur­ban­i­sa­tion.

“The trend in ur­ban­i­sa­tion runs counter to many real es­tate plan­ning prin­ci­ples. Real es­tate likes the or­der and logic of zones – CBD, shop­ping dis­trict, leisure cir­cuit, theatre land, or cul­tural quar­ter, for ex­am­ple,” says Stephen Spring­ham, head of re­tail re­search at Knight Frank Global. “How­ever, true ur­ban­i­sa­tion recog­nises none of these ar­ti­fi­cially en­gi­neered bound­aries and the utopia of ur­ban­i­sa­tion is a melange of real es­tate fa­cil­i­ties that goes far beyond mixed-use as we know it. ”

This is ap­par­ent when you drive through Re­gent Road in Sea Point and pass an in­ter­net café next to an up­mar­ket restau­rant, along­side an an apart­ment block, flanked by an es­tate agency and a yoga stu­dio.

“Cape Town, es­pe­cially the At­lantic seaboard and CBD, is bustling and di­verse. It is the se­cret be­hind its charm and ap­peal for most peo­ple want­ing to buy or rent here,” says Richard Hardie, man­ager of Knight Frank Res­i­den­tial South Africa’s Sea Point branch.

“There will al­ways be a place or a com­mu­nity that peo­ple from all walks of life feel at home in – it does not cater only to one de­mo­graphic.”

He be­lieves the se­cret to the suc­cess­ful city of the fu­ture is clear: Cater for a wide and di­verse au­di­ence hon­estly, in­no­va­tively and trans­par­ently. En­sure that cre­ativ­ity and peo­ple-cen­tric­ity are al­ways at the fore when de­vel­op­ing or plan­ning, and keep open com­mu­ni­ca­tion between the city and its residents.

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