Topic: DesignArchitects

Last updated: February 23, 2019

South Africa’s transportation system is lacking to say the least – even more so in small cities such as Knysna and becomes even rarer further out (such as Thesen Island). Currently, the only form of public transport system to and from the island are local minibus taxis. Compared to Europe or North America, our transport system is questionable to say the least – however CMAI (Dr.

Mulder’s company – the architecture company responsible for Thesen Island as we see it today) is in the process of establishing a city bus and water-taxi route-system for the city of Knysna where Thesen Island would also receive a bus and water-taxi stop. It is estimated that planning for the inter-city bus route will commence soon.Human scale factors on the gated neighbourhood side, however present, is little and not enough to endorse face-to-face contact and sociable events on a daily basis. “Harbour Town” has plentiful cafés, arcades and inside-outside areas where people can socialise. The island has no healthcare or education institutions present – this, again, promotes vehicular movement out of the island to healthcare and educational civics as walking may be too far for some individuals (not to mention safety while walking). The island does, however, offer opportunities for economic engagement and employment such as sales clerks, assistants, waiters/servers, domestic workers, gardeners as well as many specialised opportunities (architects, real-estate agents, chefs and craftsmen of various types). Thesen Island has exceptional institutional integrity.

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The island has a highly functional home owner’s association – the TIHOA (Thesen Island Home Owner’s Association) which has bi-monthly meetings. TIHOA also works hand-in-hand with the TIDRP (Thesen Island Design Review Panel) to resolve any queries, design changes, alterations and extensions and any new structure/built environment within the whole of Thesen Island. From personal experience, these boards are well-oiled machines.

?UniverCity, Burnaby, British Columbia, CanadaGeoff Massey and Arthur Erickson submitted their preliminary plan for Simon Fraser University (SFU) in 1963 with the dream that it would act as a keystone for a new residential, mixed-use community at the top of Burnaby Mountain in British Colombia, Canada. Thirty-two (32) years later, the then City of Burnaby Mayor William Copeland and SFU President John Stubbs retained a “Memorandum of Understanding” to commence the planning process in 1995. The City of Burnaby secured three-hundred and twenty hectares (320 ha) of then University-owned property that was scheduled to be incorporated into the larger Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area. In return for the handing over of the property, the City granted STF planning support to commence developing a community – this was later named “UniverCity”. The Official Community Plan (OCP) and the Zoning By-law Amendments for the development was accepted by the City of Burnaby in 1996, setting the (figurative) ball in-motion.Roughly sixty-five hectares (65 ha) of land adjoining the SFU property was allocated to hold a dense, mixed-use community – this was the aim of the OCP. The scheme allowed for up to four-thousand five-hundred and thirty-six (4536) residential units in two (2) unique neighbourhoods – one to the South and another to the East of the SFU campus – each with its own primary (elementary) school and neighbourhood-park. Arrangements for an extensive network of pedestrian paths and bike trails, a commercial core and public services was comprised in the OCP.

UniverCity was projected to house up to ten-thousand (10 000) citizens. To create a more “complete community” with a diverse range of shops, facilities and housing choices; to establish an Endowment Fund supporting research and teaching at SFU – these were the two (2) key goals of SFU for the planning and development of the residential community. The Burnaby Mountain Community Corporation was founded in order to supervise the planning and development of UniverCity in 1997.


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