With the new academic year fast approaching and the anticipation of the UWC’s new medical facility arriving in Bellville, thousands of students will be descending upon the area. Home to approximately 100,000 students, it has become increasingly prevalent that in relation to these stats, there is a huge shortage of student housing in Bellville. Within its parameters there are but three residences, including the long-standing student halls in the beautiful heritage registered Old Mutual building.

Property development company Park Central Lifestyle, who are proudly offering new and affordable accommodation right in the heart of Bellville, has recognised this shortage and are offering an unmatched solution to this housing plight. The new residence located on Durban Road guarantees 24 hour security, thumb print access, entertainment areas, wifi, secure parking (to name but a few of its amenities) and will house up to one hundred and fifty students. Having created this well-located contemporary and accommodating space, the company has secured another eight buildings, which are intended to be developed as student accommodation.

Whilst student housing is being provided for some students, there are limited services and amenities in the area to support their lifestyle. There is no coffee culture, and life can easily be contained to the four walls of their residence. It has been argued that the majority of student learning happens outside of the classroom and therefore it is important to create an inviting urban space for them to engage in and with. Whilst Bellville is undergoing steady regeneration, case studies have shown how students can assist and contribute towards the renewal of any area. Students tend to walk and make use of public transport a lot more than any other sector as well as engage with public space, encouraging local government and council to make such places safer and more welcoming.  Students often take on jobs that most locals would boycott and may sometimes be difficult to fill: they can also be flexible with times and are able to work at what can be considered more ‘unsociable’ hours.

Despite the well-disputed and mixed reception of the arrival of students to any area, with factors such as noise, the poaching of jobs and the possibility that students can ‘push out’ the local residents being recurring issues, they are catalysts of change and growth. As Bellville embarks on an impressive regeneration programme, questions that remain to be answered are how will the arrival of these new students residences impact the area? How will they positively or negatively impact regeneration in the long term? What effect will they have on economic growth in Bellville? How will they contribute to the social life of the area and public spaces and streets such as Kruskal? What needs to be changed to accommodate them in terms of social activities and needs and who will take responsibility for providing them? What impact will their arrival have on the cultural life and activities occurring in Bellville, and lastly, what effect will all of this have on their education?

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Student Accomodation: Park Central Lifestyle

Student Accomodation: Park Central Lifestyle