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Exploring the “eco-ness” of South Africa’s eco-estates


Year published: 2022
Categories: Journal Article

Author / Authors:

  • Anjali Mistry
  • Manfred Spocter


Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability, DOI: 10.1080/17549175.2022.2050279


Residential developments can potentially play a part in urban sustainability through the greening of new homes or the retrofitting of existing homes. Eco-estates, a subtype of gated communities, are marketed as green developments in South Africa with a view to contributing to green residential living through a number of eco-practices. This paper investigates the eco-ness of eco-estates: the degree to which eco-living is implemented in these lifestyle estates. The study, scaffolded by the notion of eco-urbanism, draws on information acquired in questionnaire surveys conducted with estate managers and eco-estate developers. The survey findings are compared with the literature on green practices in order to ascertain eco-ness. It was found that while land and land-use practices are beneficial to environmental sustainability in the eco-estates, it is questionable whether any contributions are made to social sustainability. Eco-practices related to energy, water and solid waste management are commendable, but are practiced in varying degrees. Eco-practices are not mandatory for estate residents, nor are they rigidly enforced. It is recommended that because eco-estates are touted as green developments, national rules be drafted to govern eco-practices in the estates to fulfil their marketing mandates of residential living in harmony with nature.


  • Journal Article