PROGRAMME: AROUND 3,100 housing units at different densities, supported by public facilities, a school, a market place, small shops and recreational facilities.
URBAN world the most important aims of the plan are structured integration and urban generation of the urban environment. The design takes an infrastructural approach which recognises the problem of scale, particularly the scale and character of the housing problem. The approach is directed at spatially ordering the urban world and is non-programmatic in nature. The design attempts to provide an answer to the issues of involvement (both by the government and by the private sector), affordability, opportunity and choice. This public infrastructure-led approach is seen as a long-term strategic process.
A 300 X 300 metre grid is taken as the basis for the spatial ordering of the urban world. The grid serves as a general spatial structure. It provides the minimum social, access and service infrastructure required to guide and direct development. The plan does not lay down possible methods of financing, types of dwelling or rental agreements. These can occur in different forms within the plan. The grid shows the relationship between the component parts, their order in the hierarchy and the distinction between public and private, together with the scale and range of private possibilities. Given the limited means available, it could never be possible to realize every bit of the plan in the short term. This gives importance to the scale of the primary spatial structure. The larger grid allows a strategic approach in which the emphasis lies on the definition of the quality of an urban environment. It also allows flexibility in the size of the plots released. The grid can also adjust to the complex nature of the topography. Even the steeply sloping ground and the irrigation canals do not threaten the clarity of the urban spatial structure. The orthogonal arrangement gives the area its legibility and comprehensibility. Urban hierarchy The 300 X 300 metre grid structure is laid out along a central axis. Along this axis lie a market place, an urban resource centre and a civic periphery bordering on the nature reserve. A hierarchy of public transport halts supports a network of pedestrian routes. A bus terminal on the north-east side provides the primary access point for the area. A light railway passes by the area on the east side and provides direct access to the central axis. The taxi ranks are located at the ends of the central axis, at the intersections with the transverse axes, and close to the proposed educational facility. The border with the nature reserve is broken up by a series of public spaces. The most important of these is at the highest point, which makes it ideal for a range of activities such as meetings, ceremonies, entertainments, religious events and commemorations. This spot provides a clearly visible entrance to the reserve and can in due course become a cornerstone of Cato Manor's social structure. The blocks inside the grid display a hierarchical public social infrastructure. This is achieved by arranging the public, semi-public and private spaces to fit in with the hierarchy of social facilities. The six types of dwelling vary in density from 95 to 225 units per hectare. To achieve this density necessitates a communal approach at all levels of scale. Housing associations will be given access to the capital market and will apply a range of different rental arrangements. In the longer term private ownership may also be possible. On a smaller scale facilities may initially be shared. As soon as the housing associations have recovered their investments, their property can be applied to the benefit of the social infrastructure. The affordability of multi-storey housing depends more on the financing strategy and the size of the dwelling than on building techniques. It is therefore essential that there should be a wide range of financing strategies and dwelling sizes. Different types have been developed for different income groups, to satisfy individuals' different requirements while still remaining affordable.