A word from our CEO, Warren Hewitt

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Feb 21, 2019

As we described in our opinion piece published recently on the Daily Maverick, the time has come for cities to change the way they operate and the way they are structured to serve the people who use them. The traditional model of a gridlocked megalopolis is shifting from exclusively commercial centres set apart from where people live, to mixed-use centres where people can live, work and play in close proximity. The new city is highly connected, driven by innovation and a thriving cultural tapestry, supported by a 24-hour economy.

The Bellville CBD, and the wider Greater Tygerberg area has comparable infrastructure, medical, educational and transport facilities with some of the world’s other leading cities such as Manchester and Kigali, among others. The GTP’s role is to facilitate the transition for the CBD, building a community that works, plays, lives and studies within a more compact, more sustainable radius. This doesn’t mean that we’re starting from scratch. But rather, we’re building on what we have, and attracting investors who buy into the vision of a city and community that is connected, and that offers sustainable economic and inclusive social opportunities 247/365.

The bigger picture I’ve just described is underpinned by the micro picture. It must be, because facilitating such a visionary transition will invariably happen in smaller increments of progress that will play out both at ground level and around board room tables every day.

By this I mean changes such as the long-awaited redevelopment of Kruskal Avenue and the ongoing upgrade of Elizabeth Park. These will, and must, take place while plans for bigger developments like the reimagining of the Parow Centre and the opening of the new UWC Medical Sciences Faculty will unfold over time.

Events like the GTP Urban Trail Run and the Bellville Market; and the development of the GTP Express, are examples of the components of a ground-up momentum.

The GTP’s role is to form the centrepoint of that ground-up, top-down; macro-to-micro picture. We lie at the centre of the programme, not as the primary drivers but as the facilitators, coordinators and connectors.

We have a young, vibrant community in Bellville that lives and works alongside a more established community. Both are here to learn, work, live and interact in their own community. And we are here to ensure that the ideas and aspirations of the people here can come to life. We want Bellville to be an inclusive, growing, progressive and innovative environment that lies at the centre of, and serves, the Cape Town metropole.

To achieve this, we’ve put down some plans for projects and initiatives all designed to achieve the vision of Bellville as a leading African city. Watch this space for more details over the coming months. In the meantime, our message to the entire community of Bellville, the Greater Tygerberg region and Cape Town as a whole is to come here, join us, participate, and share your vision for Bellville as a leading African city.