Archive : The R80 billion plan to sink Cape Town’s rail lines | FUTURE CAPE TOWN

This is the vision for a section of the Cape Town CBD for the year 2030 by Makeka Design Lab. The idea is the brain child of Mokena Makeka, the Principal and Creative Director of Makeka Design Lab.

In 2011, a R80 billion regeneration project for the Cape Town Station precinct and more than 50 hectares of land between Woodstock and Culemborg was proposed to radically alter Cape Town’s inner city and breathe life into a “dead area”. Plans included the recovery of shipwrecks from below the Cape Town station and the dropping of the railway tracks between Cape Town and Salt River to allow for expanded terrestrial development.

The ambitious inner-city facelift was unveiled at a 2011 City of Cape Town mayoral committee meeting and was one of seven national transport orientated development projects being considered by the former agency, Intersite, the the property division of the Passenger Rail Agency of SA. As about half of the city’s commuters relied on rail transport, Cape Town’s regeneration was a “high priority”, said Intersite chief executive officer Cromet Molepo.

The rail corridors would have nodes and stations, each with a unique character and economic profile. According to Makeka said there would be four neighbourhoods linked by a central spine or grand promenade.

  • # Neighbourhood A would be mixed-use with a cultural centre, museum and boutique hotels.
  • # Neighbourhood B would be a centre of technological research and education.
  • # Neighbourhood C would be a government services area with staff housing and parliamentary loft apartments.
  • # Neighbourhood D would be a health and lifestyle area with clinics, sport medical centres and a fitness park.

Makeka said challenges included the zoning rights that would be needed to get a project of this magnitude off the ground, and the “substantial” amount of infrastructure that would be placed underground.


  1. Image and video :
  2. Text : Adapted

There are 3 comments

  1. Darin

    I would be interested to know how this project is being funded. Who are the key investors? Who is going to have control over policies that will make this a place where people of all economic backgrounds come together creating South African City that we all want – diverse, vibrant and an economic stimulus for the entire country? Are there any plans for the government to provide free housing going into this? Does this solve the problem of poor people being pushed further and further out of the city – whether as a result of economics pressures or prehistoric Apartheid structures still at work? Is this just another Century City development that is being sugar-coated as having no walls, more government services and better public transport links? When I see these kinds of development my main concern is privatization and who benefits? I know profit is important for these things to get off the ground but I definitely think that the social effects of these ideas must be heavily considered and transparent to the public. Are we just turning our entire CBD into an enclave where only the super wealthy can afford property – essentially turning the CBD and its immediate surrounds into heightened version of the massive inequality realized architecturally? Please Mokena, CoCT provide me with concrete answers to these questions so that I can be assured that the future of SA cities are in good hands?

  2. martinmenge

    It would make a lot more sense to move the Cape Town Station to the Athlone Power Station (where a lot of lines intersect anyway) and then sink and tunnel a circle line with right of way (up and down track) connecting the Athlone station with the city bowl…

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