Cape Town’s Municipal Spatial Development Framework (MSDF) – approved 25th April 2018 - sets out the spatial vision and development priorities to achieve a reconfigured, inclusive spatial form for Cape Town. The document is a spatial interpretation of the City of Cape Town’s Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and flows from the five-year review of the previous Cape Town Spatial Development Framework (originally approved in 2012).
The MSDF seeks to promote inwards inclusive growth that connects disparate centres to allow for a more efficient, economically and environmentally sustainable urban form. Land use intensification (i.e. the diversification and densification of land uses) is championed along the main transport routes and focused urban inner core. Importantly, the MSDF also designates areas of the city where development and expansion will not be supported. By directing growth inwards, the City is intent on managing the growth of urban land uses with optimal social amenities and infrastructure whilst concurrently protecting its valuable ecological and agricultural land. The desired developmental outcome is an efficient, opportunity city for all by bringing jobs closer to people, and people closer to jobs.
Growth and land-use intensification will be promoted within an extensive urban inner core which includes existing and planned public transport infrastructure; the majority of the most vulnerable communities; the majority of commercial and industrial nodes and the three Integration Zones where localised planning has been determined at a corridor scale. The City will invest the majority of its capital and operational funding within the Urban Inner Core to improve service delivery and stimulate development where it matters most.
Although the MSDF is reducing the city’s potential development footprint and bringing development inwards, our studies show that there is enough developable land and latent (existing) land use rights within the Urban Inner Core and surrounding Consolidation Zones to satisfy the present rate of expansion of the city for the foreseeable future. The MSDF will thus not constrain the availability of land for urban development.
There is strong financial imperative to curb urban sprawl. Developments on the periphery of the metropolitan area are costly, as expensive infrastructure - electricity, roads, water, sewage and security and other social services - must be extended ever outwards to accommodate the expanding footprint of the city. Studies confirm that operational costs of infrastructure on the periphery of the city are unsustainable in the long term. To ensure a financially sustainable city, and to protect our ratepayers from subsidising urban sprawl, the MSDF seeks a more efficient, sustainable and integrated urban form. This is critically important as our budgets and reducing grant allocations come under increasing pressure.
Inward growth will achieve larger-scale efficiencies for the provision of bulk infrastructure and public transport, and offer greater protection to ecological assets - 86% of our key biodiversity areas and the majority of important agricultural areas are on the periphery of the city.
At a household level, the MSDF seeks to address the costs borne by low income households paying up to 43% of their household incomes on public transport costs to access employment opportunities. This figure can rise to 60% in more remote locations like Atlantis. Continuing to promote urban sprawl and new low income residential areas on the city outskirts is immoral and only serves to reinforce economic exclusion and segregation.