Nomamfengu Mbele: Realising Holistic Development
Nomamfengu Mbele is a young graduate with an Honours Degree in Urban & Regional Planning, who is engaging head on with the opportunities around sustainable precincts offered through her work experience at Solid Green.7
Born and bred in Johannesburg, I attended Sacred Heart College before starting my studies at Wits in 2014. Upon my appointment to Solid Green in March 2018, I joined the team working on Sandton Gate where my main tasks included assisting with making the Green Star Sustainable Precinct Certification Tool applicable to the South African context; and assessing the Sandton Gate documentation for certification.
Working on Sustainable Precincts was the ideal start for an urban planning graduate as it allowed for me to see progressive planning theories being implemented in real urban development projects. The everyday challenges and successes that came with the project opened my eyes to some of the great steps that the property sector is taking to restructure city development, and how far there is still to go.
I am currently working on Wayneville, a Nairobi-based masterplan design for a sustainable precinct. I am extremely excited about the lack of limitation placed on this development and its great potential to break down the norms of urban development in African cities. I feel that there is a space in which I can be innovative in the greater African context. This offers the potential to guide precinct project members towards not only attaining sustainability in their core project objectives, but also challenging them to reach for Net Zero goals from the outset of a development.
I am also working on a Sustainable Precinct framework for the firm – a resource that will be used for sourcing ideas and supportive arguments in order to further the implementation of sustainable precinct development in the African context. I have also worked on assisting team members with submission documentation for the certification of individual green buildings. These processes continuously place me outside my comfort zone and confront me with engineering concepts such as energy modelling, daylight glare measures and greenhouse gas emissions. As challenging as it has been, the team has been helpful and patient, and I don’t take for granted the magnitude of this opportunity to gain skills in other fields of expertise.
As a young professional, growth is truly important to me and I hope to continue acquiring skills that will equip me in contributing towards the progression of the built environment. I am being given the freedom to figure out my direction while strengthening the skills and passions that I have already developed.
Working here has confirmed my desire to be a player in realising holistic development. It is honestly a privilege to be an in an environment of young proactive professionals working towards a very specific goal of sustainable built development. There is a constant effort to learn and remain inquisitive – it is an energy you are constantly surrounded by. I hope this energy is instilled in me and remains in my work ethic going forward.