The City of Tshwane has published a precinct plan for e-public participation for the Hatfield Metropolitan Node Precinct Plan, which forms part of the City’s Spatial Development Framework. Anyone who wishes to comment on the plan can submit comments via email to [email protected] by 30 June 2021.
The Hatfield Metropolitan Precinct Plan, prepared by the Hatfield City Improvement District (CID) in partnership with the City of Tshwane, details proposals which are in support of the City’s three strategic pillars, which aim to facilitate economic growth and job creation; care for residents and promote inclusivity; and protect the environment. As the largest property owner in Hatfield, the University of Pretoria plays the role of an anchor institution in the CID. This precinct plan is the first of its kind which the City has developed in partnership with the private sector, and as such its favourable consideration will be seen as a success and cornerstone of precinct plans to come.
The Hatfield area has undergone radical change in terms of its population, economic and business profiles, road networks and transport systems over the past few decades. In order to appreciate its dynamism, it is important to understand the profile of the area. The population of Hatfield almost doubled between 1996 and 2011, and the population density is now three times higher than it was in 1996. The population is generally much younger and racially more diverse. Hatfield’s residents are overwhelmingly young, are not economically active, and have no monthly income – which correlates with the significant presence of students in the area.
Hatfield comprises a considerable concentration of retail and office floor area when compared to the rest of the City, making it a Metropolitan node. However, the property market has declined in recent years, in particular in the office market, with the office vacancy rate now standing at 16.2%. Although the younger, predominantly student population brings a vibrancy and diversity to the area that is not found in many other parts of the City, the lack of disposable income and the transient nature of students has had a negative socio-economic impact on the area.
Hatfield is a significant employment area in the City across all sectors, and is in need of revival. It is expected that the rapid growth and future development of the area will not only bring new challenges, but also numerous new opportunities.
The precinct plan has gone into depth to assess the movement and connectivity in the area, which also incorporates a property belonging to the University of Pretoria that lies to the east of the N1 highway. It has analysed the need for non-motorised transport, and for a permeable precinct with an urban design which enables pedestrians to have a walkable catchment to a business centre and/or public transportation. The area is currently well-served by multiple transport services that include PRASA railways, the Gautrain station and bus routes, A Re Yeng bus service, the Tshwane bus service, the University bus service, and several private modes including taxis, rental cabs and e-hailing services. The plan also assesses the problem of parking in the area, public open space network, land uses, residential development, social and community facilities and infrastructure.
The plan then sets out the strategic intent of the Hatfield Metropolitan Node Precinct Plan and proposes:
A well-connected precinct – improved through the creation of new north-south and east-west routes, establishing an integrated and organised public transport network, and ensuring pedestrian connectivity and permeability by creating priority pedestrian routes as well as additional pedestrian paths through street blocks.
An integrated and open precinct – the implementation of a lower grid order will better integrate different sub-precincts and their functions. It will also improve the integration of non-motorised transport with vehicular movement, and allow the University to transform its interface with Hatfield and integrate the campus with the business core.
A legible precinct – a legible precinct has a clear spatial structure, with a hierarchy of places that people can associate with at different scales.
An intensified precinct – land development in the precinct must be intensified in order to make optimal use of the opportunities that exist in the node and to create a distinctively urban environment. It should not take place, however, without due consideration, and should be about promoting better buildings, not just higher-density and -intensity buildings.
For information on the precinct you can go to the official City of Tshwane website on www.tshwane.gov.za then click on Documents tab > Public Participation > Public Participation 2020/21, and you will find the Hatfield Metropolitan Node Precinct Plan, or click here to access the plan. Anyone who wishes to comment on the plan can submit comments via email to [email protected] by 30 June 2021.
- Author Department of Institutional Advancement, University of Pretoria