Today’s modern cities unfortunately have little in common with their older counterparts – and it shows, in the lack of community, the lack of connection, and the yearning to counter these.
This is the exact thought process that informed Steyn City’s master plan back when Douw Steyn first approached his long-time friend, experienced property developer Giuseppe Plumari, with a request to build a city like no other. Douw and Giuseppe shared the vision of a community where people spent time talking rather than texting, where families and friends relished their hours together; a community that would benefit not only those living there now, but the generations that would follow in their footsteps.
To make this vision come to pass, these visionaries launched the design of Steyn City with a simple thought: what if we placed people, rather than cars, at the centre of this community? This would mean that, instead of living in islands separated by roads, our city took on a gentler, more human scale: picture areas linked by courtyards, where greenery was allowed to flourish and people had a chance to connect.
This is the rationale behind the 45km of meandering promenades that allow residents to visit any part of the parkland, without encountering a single vehicle – a design that’s not only perfectly safe for children, but which also creates space for people to meet and mingle as they go about their day, rather than remaining isolated as they move between car and home.
Democracy was another principle informing the development’s overall design – perhaps not surprising, given that former president Nelson Mandela was a close friend to Douw, and even took part in a sod turning ceremony when Steyn City broke ground back in 2007.
Douw and Giuseppe intended for Steyn City to become a home to all South Africans, and that everyone should enjoy the same standard of living. This has been made possible by offering a range of accommodation types, from lock-up-and-go clusters to luxury apartments and standalone homes – with all residents enjoying access to the same high calibre facilities.
This philosophy extends to non-residents, too, which is why the developers joined forces with public sector partners to upgrade roads and infrastructure around the parkland residence in the ‘new north’ region. The development has also played a role in uplifting people in the neighbouring community of Diepsloot; firstly through Steyn City Foundation’s several initiatives (including food drops and the annual Delivering Happiness to Diepsloot campaign) but more importantly, by creating employment opportunities. Critically, those working at Steyn City can access their jobs without spending the larger part of their salaries on transport – which means that have more money for food, school fees and other vital items.
The result? A development which is not only beautiful to look at – but one where community has deep roots. Roots that will stand the test of time, and which will become part of a long-standing legacy.