KwaZulu-Natal has a stellar list of accolades to its name. The first and most recognizable being the home of 2 UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and the Maloti Drakensberg. Approximately 400 kilometres apart, these 2 sites are vastly different in their geography and what makes them fascinating. Over and above the amazing natural beauty of these places, these 2 sites have been declared world heritage sites by UNESCO due to things like having an exceptional diversity of species, with the aim of preserving this precious natural heritage and ecosystems for the future. To add to its list of amazing achievements, Durban has recently been named the greenest city in the world in the Husqvarna Urban Green Space Index.
This index has been established with the aim of safeguarding green spaces in urban areas, and due to increasing urbanisation green spaces within cities and urban environments have become increasingly under threat. The green Space Index uses satellite imaging and computer technology to learn about the current state and historic development of vegetation and their surrounding environment in urban areas. By knowing this, we can be better equipped to provide sustainable urban development solutions for cities in the future and also engage stakeholders to ensure that this becomes a priority going forward.
Green spaces, and especially within cities, are becoming increasingly important in the fight against climate change. By definition, modern cities are one of the biggest contributors to global warming, yet if we can find a way to blend usable, protected green space with the practicality and functionality of urban spaces, we are taking a small step in the fight against climate change. Durban is home to the Sibaya Coastal Precinct– a thought-fully designed city for the future which deliberately encompasses usable, people-friendly green spaces. A total of 60% of the 1000-plus hectares of the Sibaya Coastal Precinct will remain undeveloped. The Sibaya Coastal Precinct is creating the blueprint for the cities of tomorrow where people, commerce and everyday life can co-exist in a respectful and mindful way alongside the natural biomes present. These sustainability-driven ideas also encourage people to become custodians for the natural elements which are part of the fabric of their cities.