We can no longer afford to ignore the reality of the fractured world around us.
The next decades will decide the fate of our species. Social upheaval, economic stagnation, ecological destruction
-the time to act is now.
Linbro Gardens is home, unity and justice;
a new paradigm for housing which sets out to answer some of the critical questions humankind faces in the 21st century.
A Divided City
Apartheid and development since have left South African cities fragmented, causing high costs to people, the economy, and the planet. Places of living are segregated economically and often racially, with many needing to travel long distances to places of work, limited public space, and high levels of crime.
The lack of availability of affordable, decent housing pushes many into sub-standard accommodation, far from places of work and leisure.
Power, water and wastewater treatment infrastructure is decaying across the country – with loadshedding now the norm, water outages more frequent and over half the country’s wastewater treatment plants not functioning. All whilst bills for customers continue to rise.
Introducing Linbro Gardens
An ambitious project which hopes to enable a more inclusive future by addressing critical challenges faced in South Africa; affordable housing delivery, climate change, and societal segregation.
Linbro Gardens seeks to address these challenges by uniting previously fragmented relations and districts to each other. The role of the project is not merely to provide housing, retail or food to people, but rather to become:
A place of connection, regeneration, learning, and health.
A space where the children of doctors and those of factory workers can play, learn and grow together, seeing each other’s mutual humanity.
A project which aims to push the boundaries of what is possible, set a new standard, and catalyse systemic change.
A Regenerative Development
Regenerative developments look beyond sustainability – by recognising ourselves as part of a co-evolutionary whole and applying management techniques to restore systems to a state beyond the status quo.
Our development approach is rooted in essential questions which centre around a fundamental challenge:
How do we secure a future worth inhabiting for our next seven generations?
How do we ensure our planet remains inhabitable for humans?
Passive & efficient design principles minimize water and energy consumption.
On site energy generation, rainwater harvesting and wastewater re-use.
Use of low carbon alternative building technologies.
How do we build an inclusive community in the South African context?
- Minimum 30% of units affordable for households earning low-middle incomes.
- Design approach showing no external difference between housing units.
- Community spaces interwoven throughout development.
What does Linbro Gardens need to be to unlock the potential of its community?
- ‘House of Exploration’ providing training programmes in digital, practical and ‘soft’ skills.
- Daycare centre included to allow parents to work more easily.
- Site located close to places of work to reduce commuting time.
How can Linbro Gardens catalyse change beyond the boundaries of its site?
- Engagement with local government, academics & industry bodies to share project learnings.
- Outreach to community groups to bring people into the space.
- Public facing elements (retail & house of exploration) promote the project’s core ideas.
How can the development process itself be a vehicle for social change?
- Training programmes incorporated into construction process.
- Procurement policy favouring locally owned SMMEs
- Participatory design process giving communities a voice.
The Role of Place
In order to reach its true potential from a physical, psychological, social, cultural, economical and environmental perspective, we need to view a project’s purpose beyond creating a space for various uses of buildings.
What is the role of the project within its greater ecosystem?
In building each of the below ‘roles of place’, we are setting out to develop relationships, processes and technologies which we hope will inspire other developers and push the impact of this project beyond the build itself.
Centre of Exchange
A place where people of different backgrounds gather, exchange, and learn new skills which enables them to support themselves and their environment.
Connection to Nature
A place in which diverse range of flora and fauna can flourish. A place where food production is integrated into the urban environment.
Home & Sanctuary
A place to call home. A place of safety for families, women and children – without the constant awareness of violent security measures and systems.
Bedrock of Community
A place where layers of community (immediate residents and beyond) are formed and sustained.
A place where ideas that will enable a more regenerative future are tested and new possibilities explored.
Space for Expression
A place where people can express themeselves and inspire others through art, culture, music and poetry.
Linbro Gardens is located in Linbro Park, Johannesburg; an area undergoing rapid development into a significant urban node.
15 minutes from Sandton (Johannesburg’s business and financial district)
Close to upcoming Marlboro Gautrain station (high-speed commuter rail system)
- Other nearby points of interest include:
- The Modderfontein Nature Reserve
- Linbro Business Park
- Major arterial roads
The area has historically been zoned an agricultural holding, with large stands and some industrial developments nearby. However, the area is in the process of undergoing major urbanisation – with several large developments by Balwin Properties and other developers close to completion and a revised city masterplan promoting densification.
There are also a number of commercial developments, including an upcoming mall across the street from Linbro Gardens’ site and a logistics park. To date, these developments have followed similar patterns to other suburbs in South Africa, typified by high boundary walls, electric fencing, and limited public space. Linbro Gardens will encourage pedestrian movement, allow for more accessible green space and culturally appropriate public areas.