The 'eco-ness' of eco-estates in South Africa

Mistry, Anjali (2019-04)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: It is widely acknowledged that a need exists to live in harmony with nature to attain a just balance between the social, economic and environmental needs of present and future generations. The need to consider alternative and sustainable forms of residential development that are in harmony with nature is vital. Gated communities have become a popular form of residential housing across the South African landscape. In response to this popularity a niche market eco-estates – has emerged as a type of ‘green’ lifestyle estate in South Africa. Since eco-estates are purpose-built to be sustainable, an investigation of these eco-developments is called for, especially regarding future generations attaining the vision of living in harmony with nature. Using a mixed-methods approach, the study aimed to investigate whether estates that are branded as eco-estates are different to those described in their marketing material as being eco-friendly. The five objectives were to provide a literature review of the relevant literature; to do a locational analysis of eco-estates and eco-friendly estates in South Africa; to determine whether eco-estates and eco-friendly estates are located contiguously with existing conservation areas; to investigate the degree to which eco-estates and eco-friendly estates contribute to greening interventions; and to create a categorisation of eco-estates and eco-friendly estates. The results indicate that these estates require wide, open spaces to ensure their success and are therefore located on urban peripheries or in smaller towns or secondary cities where ample space is available. The estates were found to be located adjacent to some type of protected area or next to another eco-estate. However, the objective of creating contiguous protected areas was often distorted due to the presence of walls, boundaries and fences where security precautions override conservation priorities. All the estates studied were found to adopt some kind of green intervention related to energy, water and waste. However, very few of the estates have made these practices mandatory, thus making their eco-ness and sustainability questionable. The study proposed a categorisation of eco-estates in South Africa which places these developments on a continuum ranging from a true eco-estate to lower forms of eco-estates. In essence, while these estates are branded similarly, there is a fundamental difference between the two. Security is the major priority for both eco-estates and eco-friendly estates, followed by conservation priorities. It is recommended that there is a need for a suitable definition of eco-estates a legislative framework to guide new eco-developments to be successful. Developers, government officials and planners will have to cooperate in creating a developmental framework for eco-estates. Eco-estates are an alternative form of development which is better than conventional developments in facilitating living in harmony with nature. However, they will only be successful if developed according to the true notions of sustainable development and in a just manner.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Dit word wyd erken dat daar 'n behoefte is om in harmonie met die natuur te leef ten einde 'n regverdige balans te bewerkstellig wat sosiale, ekonomiese en omgewingsbehoeftes van huidige en toekomstige geslagte betref. Die noodsaaklikheid bestaan om alternatiewe, volhoubare residensiële ontwikkelingsvorme te oorweeg wat in harmonie met die natuur is. Omheinde ontwikkelings het 'n gewilde vorm van residensiële behuising oor die Suid-Afrikaanse landskap geword. In reaksie op hierdie gewildheid, as 'n nismark, het ekolandgoedere ontstaan as 'n soort 'groen' leefstyllandgoed in Suid-Afrika. Aangesien ekolandgoedere se doelwit is om volhoubaar te wees, word die ontleding en ondersoek van ontwikkelinge wat verwys na eko-ontwikkelinge op die een of ander manier as belangrik geag. Dit geld veral vir toekomstige geslagte om die visie van lewe in harmonie met die natuur te bereik. Deur gebruik te maak van 'n benadering van gemengde navsoringmetodes, is die studie daarop gemik om te ondersoek of landgoedere wat as ekolandgoedere beskryf word, verskil van landgoedere wat beskryf word as 'ekovriendelik' in hul bemarkingsmateriaal. Die studiedoelwitte is vyfvoudig: Om 'n literatuuroorsig van die relevante literatuur te verskaf; 'n tyd-ruimtelike analise van ekolandgoedere en ekovriendelike landgoedere in Suid-Afrika te verskaf; te bepaal of die ligging van ekolandgoedere en ekovriendelike landgoedere aangrensend is aan bestaande bewaringsgebiede; te ondersoek tot watter vlak ekolandgoedere en ekovriendelike landgoedere bydra tot groen intervensies; en om 'n kategorisering van ekolandgoedere en eko-vriendelike landgoedere te skep. Die resultate dui daarop dat hierdie eko-landgoedere wye oop ruimtes benodig om hul sukses te verseker en is dus geleë in die stedelike periferie of in kleiner dorpe of sekondêre stede waar genoeg ruimte beskikbaar is. Daar is bevind dat eiendomme langs 'n beskermde gebied of ander ekolandgoed geleë is. Die doelwit agter geskepde aangrensende beskermde gebiede word egter vervorm as gevolg van die teenwoordigheid van mure, grense en heinings aangesien veiligheidsprioriteite die bewaringsprioriteite oorskadu. Daar is bevind dat dei langoedere in hierdie studie sekere inisiatiewe ten opsigte van die bestuur van energie, water en afval het. Baie min van die landgoedere het hierdie praktyke egter verpligtend gemaak, en sodoende hul ‘ekoheid’ en volhoubaarheid bevraagteken. Die studie bied 'n voorgestelde kategorisering van ekolandgoedere in Suid-Afrika. Die kategorisering plaas hierdie ontwikkelinge op 'n kontinuum wat strek van 'n ware eko-landgoed tot laer vorme van ekolandgoedere. In wese, terwyl hierdie landgoedere op dieselfde manier ge-etikiteer word, daar is fundamentele verskille tussen die twee. Veiligheid bly die belangrikste prioriteit vir beide ekolandgoedere en ekovriendelike landgoedere, gevolg deur bewaringsprioriteite. Daar word aanbeveel dat 'n geskikte definisie geskep word wat ‘n ekolandgoedere omvattend beskryf. 'n Wetgewende raamwerk is ook nodig om nuwe ontwikkelings van hierdie aard suksesvol te kan maak. Ontwikkelaars, staatsamptenare en beplanners moet saam werk om 'n raamwerk vir die ontwikkeling van ekolandgoedere te skep. Hierdie landgoedere is 'n alternatiewe vorm van ontwikkeling, beter as konvensionele ontwikkeling, wat die vermoë het om in harmonie met die natuur te kan opereer. Hulle kan egter slegs suksesvol wees indien hulle met ware idees van volhoubare ontwikkeling in gedagte en op 'n regverdige en billike wyse ontwikkel word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/105584
This item appears in the following collections: