Green Leadership


The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) has awarded a 4-star Green Star Sustainable Precinct certification – the first in Africa – to a project that will be built by historic Cape Town development company, Garden Cities NPC (RF), as a further phase of its flagship Cape West Coast suburb, Sunningdale.

John Matthews, Group CEO of the company, which celebrates its Centenary this year, has welcomed the award as a fitting acknowledgement of Garden Cities’ leading role in the green building movement. Commenting on the 46.3 out of a targeted 48.3-point score achieved for the project, he said it reflected the company’s efforts to meet the highest possible levels of sustainability, standards and quality of life for residents of its suburbs.

The award was made to the planned Northridge Coastal Village (Sunningdale Phase 13A) after assessment of the project by the GBCSA, applying key criteria contained in the council’s Sustainable Precincts tool that evaluates large scale development projects at a precincts or neighbourhoods level. Unlike the other Green Star tools, the emphasis is on the site-wide, rather than building-specific issues. The tool rates the planning, design and construction of a precinct only and it does not rate specific buildings or assess its operation.

Manfred Braune, Green Building Council South Africa’s Chief Technical Officer said it was the GBCSA’s objective to inspire growth and innovation in the property sector through initiatives that demonstrate South Africa’s ability to effectively place environmental issues at the heart of design, building and operation to achieve better, greener buildings, and now precincts.

Founder of Terramanzi Group, Fabio Venturi and teammate Claire Holton, the sustainable design consultants tasked with this ground-breaking certification, said they felt a massive sense of relief and achievement following a rigorous certification process in which their work was vetted by both the Green Building Council of South Africa and the Green Building Council of Australia.   Venturi attributes  the remarkable achievement to dedicated teamwork and collaboration. He said the process had been driven by a talented professional team partnered by a passionate client, whose commitment to sustainability helped the design reach its full potential in line with global sustainable design benchmarks.

During its 100-year history, Garden Cities has prioritised sensitive development and environmental awareness and sustainability in the 16 suburbs and developments it has created.

In 2012 the company produced its initial Green Policy, Green Framework, and a supporting Home Owners’ Guide - a living document which is consistently updated.  Subsequently the company has produced Supplier, Consultant and Contractor Greening Guides as part of greening the value chain. With an over-arching vision document, the guides cover a spectrum of green concerns – water, energy and materials.

‘The next logical progression for Garden Cities is to achieve our objective of ‘zero waste to landfill’ in all our projects,’ said Renier Smith, Group Manager, Engineering and Planning.

‘The GBCSA’s Green Star Sustainable Precinct Tool aligns perfectly with our vision to ensure environmentally sustainable developments with minimal impact.

‘We have come to the realisation that the only way to attain radical goals that were once thought to be the unachievable, is to formalise and implement them with focus and drive,’ said Smith.

Venturi applauds what he describes as a visionary and committed approach by Garden Cities.  ‘With pressing global climate change and resource challenges there has never been a more appropriate time for bold leadership in the property sector to create a meaningful and measured difference on this planet for now  and for generations to come.

Apart from its impact on sustainability, said Manfred Braune, there was a compelling business case for green building. ‘Studies continue to show dramatic increases in quality of life for occupants of sustainably built homes, offices and schools. One of the key factors in this improvement is better quality of indoor air and light which is beginning to influence decisions made by tenants and potential buyers.

‘The demand for green buildings is growing rapidly, as property developers and property owners become more aware of their environmental footprint and the cost benefits of building green, and tenants favour energy efficient and more productive spaces.

‘Building green is no longer a lofty ideal. We can now see the tangible benefits that are tied to sustainability in the African context and the fact that within three years the South African industry anticipates that there will be a much higher level of green building activity is encouraging.’


Green Leadership


Greenville Garden City residents restore Mosselbank corridor 

A successful community initiative aimed at rehabilitating and maintaining the social, ecological and amenity value of the Mosselbank River corridor in Greenville Garden City, Fisantekraal is well established  and operating from its headquarters in the development.

The Mosselbank River Conservation Team (MRCT)  has built and resourced a community-based project crewed by local volunteers, to ensure the river is restored to its natural state and becomes a thriving environment with a range of benefits for the local Greenville community.

Garden Cities, developers of the 767ha new town, Greenville, have sponsored a container which serves as an office and storage space for the team. Fitted out, it has created a base for the team, focusing members’ sense of responsibility and accountability.

The container is emblazoned with images and information about the collaborative and all its events, with the object of attracting more volunteers to the programme, and to educate the wider Fisantekraal community.

Many beneficial and positive gains have been achieved since the launch in 2017, but most importantly, MRCT members have continued to put in hours of dedicated work on the Mosselbank River and community.

The MRCT is a group comprised of volunteers based in Greenville Garden City that together tackle some of Fisantekraal’s environmental issues, but more specifically, issues related to the Mosselbank River.

The core team includes Elizabeth Maans (Chair), Christene Gelant (Vice-chair), Thembakazi Ngcobo (Secretary), Gert Kraai (Store Manager) and John Claasen (Security and maintenance officer). Additional members include Esmeralda Julies (Stand-in Secretary), Lulama Dyobhani (Treasurer), Caroldene Prins (Stand-in Treasurer), Magdalena De Bruyn, Isak Jonkers and Marius Jansen.

The team was initially identified and established by Elizabeth Maans who was one of the very first residents of Greenville, where she has become an influential community leader. From the time she first occupied her new home, she decided to start cleaning the roads and river as a community service.

At the outset, when the new homes began to be occupied, Garden Cities, which is committed to helping create harmonious and environmentally responsible communities in its suburbs, invited the participation of residents who had a passion for the environment.

Ms Maans tackled the recruitment with enthusiasm, and, says Garden Cities’ Group CEO John Matthews, the team is growing in strength under her the strong leadership.

The duties of the team include monitoring and reporting of pollution; river quality; reporting fires; undertaking litter runs; weeding; clearing of alien vegetaton and educating local residents about the importance of a healthy river.

Currently, the team conducts litter runs every second week and community clean-up days once a month. The Mosselbank River rehabilitation is now in its maintenance period and the MRCT, together with local community members, has been employed to assist with the maintenance.

The team is promoting environmental education within the community by linking up with other NGOs and social development programmes in the community. Members promote awareness of illegal dumping issues, stray cattle (and the impact on the river), the purpose of the river rehabilitation, and the danger of fires. Events hosted by MRCT include World Wetlands Day, World Water day, World Rivers Day, and Mandela Day.

They are developing their skills through First Aid training, snake handing and administrative tasks, while also learning from other river maintenance teams, such as the Friends of Liesbeek (FOL).

The establishment of this group was facilitated through a small grant from the Cape Town Environmental Education Trust (CTEET) that provided equipment, personal protective clothing and training.


Archway Foundation


The Garden Cities Archway Foundation, established 16 years ago to alleviate the enormous shortfall of school halls in the Western Cape, also collaborates with a UWC programme aimed at redressing the low levels of science and maths skills.

The Archway Foundation is among the institutions providing funds not only to help train the teachers, but to fit and equip science laboratories in the schools.

The science learning centres are provided complete with the entire infrastructure that includes hardware, equipment and chemicals, as well as the training of teachers in their use.

The programme was initiated by Professor Shaheed Hartley, Director of the Science Learning Centre for Africa in the faculty of Education the University of the Western Cape (UWC). It enhances the skills in science teachers to enable them to bring science and maths to acceptable levels in junior schools.

Now, tens of thousands of Western Cape children have access to the science laboratories that they lacked. The programme is planned to continue its work for the foreseeable future.

In the laboratories, 40 to 50 children at a time can receive science instruction at modular octagonal workstations, and teaching is done with the assistance of an interactive whiteboard on to which lessons are downloaded. Practical demonstrations are given with chemicals and equipment also provided by donor funds.

Professor Hartley both devised the programme and designed the laboratories that have been put into existing classrooms in the chosen schools.

The programme includes training sessions for teachers and the establishment of science clubs at schools. An annual inter-school science competition also helps identify the schools that are most likely to benefit from the science laboratory programme.

The Board of Garden Cities believes that the participation of the company and Foundation in education initiatives ensures the enhancement of skills in the trades, and that this in turn improves the quality of the work eventually done on building and development projects that are core to its business.


Archway Foundation


It’s more urgent than ever for the private sector to help alleviate the enormous shortfall in essential education facilities. Government is not keeping up with the existing and increasing needs of schools. Millions of children are not getting what they need for a comprehensive education.

These are among the preoccupations of John Matthews, CEO of the 100-year-old Garden Cities, the Western Cape’s oldest and largest residential development company. Matthews resolved while he was still at school to do what he could to improve facilities for education in disadvantaged communities. And he has.

The Garden Citeis Archway Foundation that was established for the purpose shortly after he took office, has made a big dent in the shortfall of hundreds of school halls. Since it started, the Foundation has been responsible for the building of 100 school halls, alone or with the collaboration of the Western Cape Education Department (WCED). The foundation is endowed with funds from the company’s profits to do its work.

More recently, the Archway has also been partnering the University of the Western Cape to provide science laboratories for schools in need in the province, and so far, it has collaborated in scores of these projects. The labs are provided complete with the entire infrastructure that includes hardware, equipment and chemicals, as well as the training of teachers in their use.

‘Growing up, I knew what it was like to go to a school that lacked all the things that teachers then, and particularly now, consider absolutely essential to a holistic education. Things like the halls - which nearly a million kids in the Western Cape still today don’t have - are not add-ons or luxuries. Without them, it will be an ongoing struggle to achieve world-level education standards.

'And there’s actually no reason whatsoever that our children shouldn’t have the best education the world can offer. It’s all in the will of the people who have the power to create the change.'




Every doggy need catered for at canine leisure centre

Since Garden Cities planned, constructed and then launched Leadville Dog Park for the canine residents of Sunningdale in December 2016, daily, an estimated 120 dogs with their owners visit and enjoythe facility off Braselton on Leadville Road.

The park is on a hectare of land provided by Garden Cities at Sunningdale, where  development  started over 20 years ago.   The company created the landscaped doggie playground areas, features, and a 180m2 building with a large veranda, at the entrance to the park, to accommodate services related to the care and comfort of dogs – and a coffee shop for their owners.

Although the park was provided at the cost of Garden Cities, it is now maintained by the City of Cape Town as a public amenity, and to ensure the ongoing success and high quality of services provided the park relies on dog owners taking responsibility for controlling their pets’ behaviour, and removing their droppings.

The park is another of the many infrastructural elements in Sunningdale, provided by Garden Cities. As part of its holistic development philosophy, the 100-year-old company includes services that will be needed by residents, such as commercial centres, schools and sports facilities.

The dog park was a new departure for the company in accordance with the growing canine population of Sunningdale. It is on Leadville Way, just off the main artery Braselton Road at the edge of the developed area to the east of the growing suburb that now comprises nearly 3 300 homes.

The facility has been enthusiastically adopted by residents - it features a walking path around an enormous open area in the shape of a giant thigh bone. Paw print patterns feature in the pavers on the gravel paths and in the shapes of smaller areas of lawn

A fence to prevent pooches wandering too far surrounds the park, but the open play area will also tie into the future green belt that meanders through the development. This will extend the scope of the park’s offering, with owners able to walk their dogs on leads in the public open spaces accessed through the formal dog park.




Garden Cities to build innovative new private school in Sunningdale

Progressive education project launched in partnership with Rallim Preparatory

‘Redesigning education for the future’ 

Garden Cities has formed a partnership with Rallim Preparatory Modern Learning Environment to build an exciting new private school at its West Coast flagship suburb Sunningdale.

The school is set to transform the educational landscape through an innovative and progressive approach in its singular vision to redesign education for the 21st century. Rallim Prep will open on Berkshire Boulevard in Sunningdale, in 2019, for students aged 3 – 13, with plans in place to establish a secondary faculty in a few years’ time. 

Group CEO of Garden Cities, John Matthews, says the company’s decision to invest in the development of a private school was in line with Garden Cities’ holistic approach to the development of its suburbs, which included the provision of a comprehensive infrastructure for residents. The school also represented Garden Cities’ on-going commitment to education. 

The company’s Archway Foundation will have been responsible for the building of 100 school halls when the company celebrates its centenary next year. The halls, of which more than 600 are still needed, have been built with funds provided by the Foundation, and latterly, in collaboration with the Western Cape Education Department. The foundation also sponsors school science learning centres. Head of Rallim Preparatory Modern Learning Environment, Colleen Millar, whose 21-year educational career includes previous management positions as both deputy principal and principal of private schools, says that the founding of Rallim Prep was premised on the belief that schools should comprehensively prepare children for the future, and for careers that may not yet exist. 

Millar highlights the rapidity with which the world is changing, and maintains that the structure, organisation and pedagogy of today’s schools support a system whose century has passed. She believes that no school has the luxury of remaining static. ‘We urgently need to rethink the task of education in a changing world,’ she says. 

‘There will be new goals for performance and cognition in education in the future which Rallim Preparatory aims to achieve through its flexible, open and adaptive architectural design as well as its new models of learning. 

‘We shall have unique and relevant facilities that are designed to ‘make learning visible’ and create collaborative, shared tech-infused workspaces with moveable walls that will replace the traditional classroom and provide for our master classes in a quest to personalise our approach to learning.’ 

‘The Rallim Prep model envisages providing an education that redefines the borders of the classroom and school through its innovative pedagogical approach, its new anatomy of language and its unique physical structure. 

‘This approach of transcending traditional academic boundaries will ensure that Rallim Prep reshapes the educational paradigm within a local context without relinquishing the fundamental requirements. Rallim Prep will chart a new landscape for education and pioneer the 21st century school of the future.’ 

‘Further to our aim of establishing an innovative, progressive and vibrant campus, we firmly believe that Rallim Prep’s appeal as a school will lie in our strong sense of community. Our commitment to realising our students’ potential will be built around providing a balanced education that addresses their intellectual, cultural, social-emotional and physical wellbeing. This will involve the establishment of sporting and cultural centres of excellence to support both the needs of the school and the wider community.’ 

‘In addition to this, we intend to provide a teacher learnership programme from the outset, that will ultimately result in the development of our campus to a tertiary level of teacher training to help address a national need. 

The objectiv,’ says Millar, ‘is to offer a unique, affordable, customised learning experience and to be considered leaders in educational innovation by keeping abreast of new trends.’ 

‘We want to be the choice parents make for their children on the Western Seaboard as well as in greater Cape Town.’


For more information on how Rallim Prep is redesigning education for the future, visit their website on

Applications for admission are invited for the start of the 2019 academic year. You may contact the school via email on or on 087 8062 303. 

Further phases of Pinehurst under way and Hillwood Village nears completion

Further phases of Pinehurst under way and Hillwood Village nears completion

Pinehurst’s Hillwood Village which comprises 245 single residential properties in Phase 4B of the development, is now nearing completion with only 70 homes still to be completed and occupied.

Hillwood is an open village with electric perimeter fencing, cameras, and its own dedicated, private vehicle-based security patrol. Each house is monitored by the security company, ensuring rapid response to alarm activations.

Phase 5, which provides only community and business sites, has been serviced along with Phase 6, which consists of 251 single residential erven in what will be a private, access-controlled security village featuring electric fencing and additional security measures including cameras.

Shortly to be serviced, to Garden Cities and Pinelands Development Company specifications, Phase 7 will have 103 single residential erven and an additional group housing site of six hectares.

Pinehurst has been remarkably successful with each new stage consistently in demand from prospective homeowners who are attracted by the high-quality homes and its position within sight of the Durbanville Hills and the Simonsberg.

A major advantage of Hillcrest, which is situated high on the Pinehurst site with views over the mountains and winelands, is its proximity to the Meridian Pinehurst School and the Pinehurst neighbourhood shopping centre, both of which are within walking distance. 

Prices of the houses, which are available from May this year for both owners and investors, range from R2.6 million to R3.6 million. 

For more information on other progress at Pinehurst phone:
Rob - 082 821 4422
Julina - 082 739 4957


Green Leadership

Educating our Home Owners

For Garden Cities it is not enough for us to just design and build green houses. We make a point of raising awareness in our communities around environmental issues and how to practically respond to them. Lately we have focused on water-wise gardening, offering our new homeowners a range of landscaping options that help save water. 

Our full homeowner Greening Guide is available to all residents of Garden Cities. This easy-to-read illustrated booklet highlights the importance and benefits of going green and provides practical tips on how to lighten our daily footprint. It contains details of the green building design features we've included all our new Garden Cities houses, things such as: eco-insulation, window glazing, heat pumps with timers, water-efficient taps and showerheads, and kitchen units that are especially designed with a two-bin recycling system. 



Green Leadership

Homes with lighter footprints

Garden Cities is breaking new ground in the establishment and refinement of green building design principles as the standard for all current and future development. We aim to promote urban households and whole communities who live daily with a lighter ecological footprint. In the design of our homes, we are striving to help residents save energy, reduce their carbon emissions, minimise waste-to-landfill, conserve precious fresh water resources, and protect biodiversity. 

Garden Cities aims to promote urban households and whole communities who live daily with a lighter ecological footprint. In the design of our homes, we are striving to help our residents save energy, reduce their carbon emissions, minimise waste sent to landfill, conserve precious fresh water resources, and protect the local biodiversity. 

While Garden Cities has always embraced and often exceeded the highest codes and standards in its building practice, the company has drafted its own specific Green Building Development Guidelines based on the latest international and local sustainability frameworks, regulations and standards. This is to make sure we remain a leader in the field. For example over 200 Garden Cities houses have already been built according to the new SANS 10400-XA Energy Efficiency regulations, which set the standard for environmental sustainability and energy usage in buildings, and form part of the National Building Regulations. In the critical area of water resource management, we are preparing to roll out grey-water recycling systems and already offer a range of water-wise garden landscaping options for new home owners. 

Garden Cities uses tried and tested building systems and components that are approved by recognized authorities with justifiable costs and acceptable performance. We always comply with prescribed building regulations, and make sure we advise our buyers on the use and maintenance of their homes. 



Green Leadership

Working with our Suppliers

Garden Cities understands that a sustainable built environment is a complex and never-ending challenge. As such, our approach is to work openly and honestly with our business partners to find the best possible solutions for all stakeholders. 

Garden Cities has embarked on a collaborative green building programme with its suppliers, contractors and consultants. The aim is to find shared motivation for why a sustainable built environment is important, what goals we want to achieve, and how we should go about it. The initiative was set in motion with the development of a series of educational booklets for our staff and business partners that introduce the main themes of environmental sustainability: Water, Energy and Materials. Titled Greening our Supply Chain, the series is designed to stimulate thinking and innovation, and also provide an outline of Garden Cities’ draft green building vision and objectives for collective scrutiny. The programme includes a variety of shared learning initiatives. 

Click on each of the covers below to read the Greening our Supply Chain series.