The digital revolution has altered our lives in just two decades, impacting almost every aspect of our lives however, experts believe that we have yet to experience the most dramatic transformation.
Once a futuristic concept, smart cities are already an established trend in Europe and the United States, with Mauritius leading the way for South Africa.
“The emergence of smart cities is largely being driven by rapid urbanisation” says Claude McKirby, Southern Suburbs Co-Principal for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, “and with 55% of the world’s population already living in urban areas, this is expected to increase to 68% by 2050 according to United Nations figures”.
“Cities are now developing at an unprecedented rate and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for authorities to meet the growing challenges of maintaining service delivery and managing critical factors like waste management, congestion and transport as well as the impact of climate change and politics.”
So, what exactly is a smart city?
“Solutions experts will tell you that it’s everything to do with technology whilst city officials may say it’s about streamlining procedures and conducting city business online, such as searching records or applying for permits and city residents may feel that it’s the easing of congestion or factors like crime reduction” says McKirby.
“And all of them would be correct as a smart city, built properly, will have different value for different stakeholders”.
“As a starting point, a smart city is defined as one that uses technology extensively to achieve key outcomes for its various stakeholders, including residents, businesses, municipal organizations and visitors. However, the foundation of a smart city lies in its infrastructure and management and, ultimately, improving the lives and the welfare of its residents.”
Mauritius launched their The Smart City Scheme in 2015 with the objective of establishing new, intelligent urban ecosystems across the island.
At the heart of the scheme is the town of Moka. While it is officially certified as a Smart City by the Economic Development Board in November 2017, its development had already begun more than a decade ago, making it the most advanced Smart City in Mauritius.
The town is experiencing a major acceleration in its growth under the impetus of the Smart City Scheme and the next phase in the region’s urbanisation extends over 450 acres of integrated, mixed-use development.
The Smart City Scheme is a mixed-use development programme designed to create the ideal work/live/play/care environment says Samuel de Gersigny, Moko Smart City Senior Manager for leading Mauritian development group, ENL Property Limited.
“Integrating the latest advances in urban planning, the smart city of Moka incorporates modern residences, an eco-friendly infrastructure, economic opportunities, a vibrant cultural scene and an integrative approach to municipal administration”.
“It’s also affords foreign investors a unique opportunity to acquire freehold property in the Smart City without any minimum investment restrictions.”
Moka Smart City’s first residential development, Les Promenades d’Helvétia, comprises contemporary apartments, duplexes and penthouses and offers residents an unparalleled lifestyle to suit all pockets, with prices ranging from R1.6 million to R11.5 million.
“Les Promenades d’Helvétia is the ultimate integrated residential development that offers the best of both worlds,” says Timo Geldenhuys, Director of Sotheby’s International Realty in Mauritius.
“Residents are afforded the convenience of having every amenity they could need right on their doorstep and the peace of mind of living in a secure precinct, but they also enjoy a tranquil environment in harmony with scenic natural surrounds and stunning mountain views.”
“The core focus is on urban ecosystems in the form of mixed-use developments that integrate the business, residential and leisure components to enhance sustainability, efficiency and quality of life.
“With the implementation of every new phase, the region is transitioning into an ever-more sustainable and liveable city through the progressive rolling out of ‘city-smartening’ and a flexible improvement process that is continually being adapted in line with the critical mass attained and technological advances.”