Bellville is evolving as a student hub, with the highest density of tertiary academic institutions in Cape Town serving around 100 000 students enrolled at campuses throughout the area.
The University of the Western Cape (UWC), Stellenbosch University (US) Business School, the University of Stellenbosch Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Northlink College and Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) are all located in the area, in addition to several other tertiary and adult-learning institutions.
When they’re away from home, we want those students to feel at home in Bellville. That’s why we’ve confirmed a partnership with South African student accommodation startup DigsConnect, to enable thousands of students access to safe, comfortable and affordable student accommodation in Bellville.
Many of those students have travelled from across the country and the continent to access the world-class education offered, and need safe, affordable and comfortable accommodation. South African startup, DigsConnect has recognised that need. In response, it is disrupting the student accommodation sector by putting student accommodation seekers in contact with those offering accommodation close to places of learning.
In 2016, the Minister of Higher Education and Training announced a student housing backlog of over 200 000 beds.
The GTP has a mandate to promote the growth and development of Bellville and the Greater Tygerberg Area. Supporting the area as a key knowledge hub is an important part of that work. The relationship between the GTP and DigsConnect will help in that regard, providing students with affordable accommodation close to campus and other amenities.
Students in Bellville can access student accommodation in Bellville through a simple portal on the GTP’s website. The platform works by connecting students with accommodation providers and operators.
GTP CEO, Warren Hewitt, explains: “Students play such an important role in creating lively, social urban centres, and also advancing cities as knowledge hubs. We were keen to see DigsConnect on board in Bellville, where we’re seeing student residences develop around student precincts in the city. There is also potential for the private market to benefit from the demand for suitable properties that can serve as digs. These could be either in private family environments or in higher density affordable developments.”
Greg Keal, marketing lead for DigsConnect says: “We’ve already started to gain some traction in many zones on the Peninsula and are looking forward to servicing the Bellville market more proactively, thanks to the GTP’s ability to connect us to the institutions and residences in Bellville. It’s partnerships like these, in student-focused areas, that will help us to extend our brand across the country.”
Hewitt says he is enthusiastic about the development of student culture in Bellville. One of the GTP’s goals is that Bellville will become an exciting 24-hour city with night time businesses and services, entertainment and shopping keeping the city alive and prosperous at all hours, supporting the needs of students in a safe and well-managed environment. The partnership with DigsConnect is a component in the GTP’s connected communities programme.