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Building/Project Details

Building/Project NameJewel City
Building/Project Typeother Address Johannesburg, South Africa Region africa

Performance Details

Health and Wellbeing

Existing buildings or developments that demonstrate outstanding performance in improving the health, equity and/or resilience of people in local communities.

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Jewel City is an urban redevelopment project that revitalized a former hub of the diamond and precious metals trade industry, an area that has historically suffered high vacancy and crime rates. The project achieved this revitalization by integrating affordable housing, along with retail, business, sport, and creative spaces. These elements are all centered around a meticulously planned public realm, which caters to the diverse needs of inner-city residents. 

Habitability and Comfort 

  • Designed with liveability in mind, prioritising natural lighting and natural ventilation. 
  • Buildings are access controlled to avoid overcrowding, with house rules that prevent noise and disturbances to ensure a comfortable environment for the occupants. 
  • The new residential units include a wide range of apartment types, from micro-studios to family-size two-bedroom flats, encouraging both economic and social diversity. 

Community and Connectivity 

  • Set in a well located, pedestrianised area, with inclusion of schools, healthcare clinics, sporting facilities and clubs, shops, restaurants, large public square, and an urban park that is flanked with trees, animated by fountains and public art. 
  • The development made use of a number of existing buildings where heritage aspects were maintained. A layer of heritage was also introduced through artworks, signage, and interpretive panels, with an economic injection into the local art economy, prioritising the involvement of local artists and artisans. 
  • The development consists of residential rental units complemented by commercial spaces, offices, a school, and a medical facility. This diverse mix contributes positively to the urban environment. 

Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Change 

  • Built for durability and serviceability of the building in the long term. 
  • Jewel City Precinct has received an EDGE Preliminary Design Certificate from the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA). It is nearing post-construction EDGE status, indicating compliance with the EDGE Standard for a minimum 20% improvement in energy, water, and embodied energy in materials compared to standard building regulations. 

Resource Efficiency and Circularity 

  • Includes solar, LED lights, efficient water fixtures, and energy efficient central heat pumps, while contributing to carbon emission reductions from it being centrally located. 
  • Architectural brief involved repurposing the existing industrial buildings into six blocks of residential and mixed-use buildings, with a 13-storey residential building standing as the Flagship building of the Jewel City precinct. 
  • Existing building facades were refurbished and adorned with local artwork throughout the precinct. 

Economic Accessibility 

  • Average rental cost of an apartment is $230 USD, with no sales. Average household income of the area is $860 USD per month. 
  • Efficient and sustainable facilities aims to reduce monthly utility costs for families and residents. 
  • Acquired an estimate of $43 million USD investment through private sector investors such as pension funds and private equity funds. This was achieved by overlaying the financial return offered to investors with strong social and environmental impact returns. 
  • Market-beating returns offered to investors targeted equity returns of 15% to 18% in line with market expectations, through good design, and efficient construction and property management. 


  • South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) 2022 Property Development Awards: winner of ‘Innovative Excellence: Best Residential Development’ and ‘Overall Transformation (impact) Award’ categories. 
  • Shortlisted for the UN-PRI ‘Emerging Markets Initiative of the Year’ award: ‘Real-world impact of the year’ and ‘the emerging markets initiative of the year’ categories. 
  • Construction World’s Best Projects 2021 Awards: winner of ‘Architects’ Category. 

More information: 

https://www.worldbuildingsdirectory. com/entries/jewel-city/ uploads/2021/09/30.09-Divercity_ Carbon-Study_Final.pdf project-studies/jc-the-onyx 

Submitter's Details

OrganisationDeveloper: Divercity Urban Property Group