Moka Smart City embodies what was but an abstract concept only 10 years ago. The first village which was developed with an insightful long-term plan to become a smart city – while building up a unique lifestyle befitting the region – is now labelled under the Smart City Scheme. Discover the pioneers of this new urbanisation philosophy.
A custom-designed concept in an ideal place
Moka, which is now one of the most attractive regions of Mauritius, was mainly an agricultural area just 12 years ago. Indeed, ENL group eased and developed, over time, various amenities including schools and universities, commercial and business centres, private health facilities, modern residential neighbourhoods, and fitness centres. The region has nevertheless maintained its authenticity thanks to urban planning methods which remained astute to sustainable and citizen-oriented development through infrastructure. All of these changes were, furthermore, designed while following the group’s guidelines with respect to urban planning, quality infrastructure and the conservation of green areas.
The concrete transformation undergone by Moka now represents an excellent return on investment: land value has tripled over the past ten years, and residential rental returns oscillate around 6%.
On top of it being well-equipped, Moka is a place which makes life pleasant and practical. Its location, near the main motorways of the island and close to the major cities, make it central and accessible. Moreover, with its temperate climate, it constitutes the perfect balance between the cool central plateau and warmer coastal regions.
Moka is undoubtedly an ideal place to live in, but it is also a crossroads for business, as it is only a few minutes away from Ebene and the capital, Port-Louis. Moka Smart City is also strategically situated at the heart of a key catchment population in a zone which holds 70% of the purchasing power: a priceless asset for people seeking to set a business in the island.
The town also fosters entrepreneurship, development and investment. Turbine (a think tank and coworking space) stands as a proud testament of this commitment with the all-new headquarters of PwC in Telfair, the future city centre of Moka.
The Smart City Scheme: a booster for Moka
The Smart City certificate awarded by the Economic Development Board in November 2017 only accelerated the continuous development that the city was experiencing, while building up on certain aspects such as: the development of its economic activities, an optimal use of resources, the amelioration of the standard of living and the civic engagement of citizens. One of the features which makes this Smart City stand out, on top of its location and accessibility, is the fact that it started 10 years in advance in this field, and rather than build a city from the ground up, the idea was to build on the existing ecosystem in the village of Moka. Moka is therefore, today, concretely able to offer a dynamic urban life to its residents.
A vibrant city by day and night
At the heart of its strategy is the city’s animation, contributing to Moka building its own identity which will, in turn, reinforce the sense of community life. Indeed, the philosophy behind this Smart City is to enrich the residents’ life, and that of the community as a whole, through sports, culture, events and of course, education. Moka boasts a variety of private and public schools— both English and French-speaking-, nurseries and universities. Naturally, the objective is now to complete this offer with the help of niche alternatives, currently, not available anywhere in Mauritius. Various educational projects are already on the right track.
In parallel, other items on the agenda are being implemented, namely reinforcing the sports offer: a catalytic element of development in the community. Beside Bagatelle and its leisurely activities, the Synergy Sport & Wellness Institute in Helvétia offers a wide range of sports activities, and this offer will only grow more diverse and substantial in time. As for the Moka Rangers Sports Club, it now offers 10 disciplines including karate, fencing and handball to its 400 members.
In this city, art and culture have paramount importance, especially since they contribute to its effervescence. Moka Smart City actively works towards this goal by seeking the help of local artists to develop community spaces, and organise events that will unite people from different backgrounds. Other activities have already been established as annual events. A few examples are: the Moka Trail –gathering over 2,000 participants every year; the Moka open-air Cinema – screening short films for free, with around 1,000 viewers; the Moka Art Festival – which gathered around 1,000 spectators around the stage and musicians, and the Moka Plant Festival – an environmental initiative that saw a turnout of over 5,000 people in 2018.
An active citizen collective
A key project spearheaded by Moka Smart City is the citizen collective, Moka’mwad. This initiative is the best possible way to unite former and current Moka residents. The end goal is to incorporate the residents’ needs and vision in their future community life, amidst a city chosen by them, for their children and themselves. This collective acts plurally as a dynamo, a much-needed catalytic element, curator and co-organiser for various activities which take place in the city. These events have recurring themes, which revolve around arts, culture, sports, ecology, health, society and entrepreneurship. This much welcome initiative received tremendous support as over 100 persons volunteered for each event, putting their heart and soul into creating events and deliberating on these themes.
Moreover, a new, more concrete annual agenda has, since April 2019, been implemented for a better organisation of activities. Moka’mwad has truly found its place within the community, and this year already looks promising for the Collective.
A diligent and planned development
Mastering urbanisation is, undoubtedly, a challenge. But it is one which Moka Smart City takes on with unwavering conviction. Respecting regulations and monitoring the development of the city with the help of international and local experts, and working in close collaboration with local authorities, is at the centre of operations. This is how urbanisation and sustainable development meet and form an integral part of the project. In order to meet this green objective, the Smart City adhered to an independent American certification - LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEEDND) - facilitating the incorporation of green construction principles in the development of the city. Before launching any urbanisation phase, all elements are considered in order to ensure that the Smart City will rise sustainably and responsibly, in line with international best practices. This allows the project to diminish its carbon footprint and, meanwhile, to improve the standard of living of its residents.
Above and beyond urbanisation, another goal is the good governance of the city, with the assurance that all subcontractors (residential, commercial and offices) follow the requirements and architectural specifications on the long run, resulting in the best possible standard of living.
A diverse range of properties
More than just a real estate project, Moka is a city which will please anyone - real estate developers, businesses, enterprises and entrepreneurs who wish to conduct business on the island, as well as all people living, working, studying in and passing through Moka.
For real estate, the resulting projects - whether residential, commercial or office spaces - have met tremendous success. The first two phases of Les Promenades d’Helvétia have sold out, with approximately 15% of foreign buyers. It is the first residential real estate project to have been marketed under the Smart City Scheme. Meanwhile, the new residential neighbourhood of Courchamps continues to grow. While some owners are already settling in Rives de Courchamps - 80 units of which have been sold and delivered -, ENL Property recently released 53 new plots of land in Les Versants de Courchamps on the market.
Vivéa Business Park has become a leading destination for the business realm. The park hosts aound 50 enterprises, 1,500 employees, a restaurant, a nursery with flexible opening hours and various green spaces. Around 10 plots of land for the construction of buildings for business use have been marketed and sold this year, and The Pod - rental office spaces that quickly found their tenants – opened its door.
Nearby, in Bagatelle - an effervescent area -, various projects arise around the Mall. One of them is the Bagatelle Motor City zone where Peugeot, Citroën and Suzuki are already anchored. It will also welcome more branded showrooms such as Land Rover, Jaguar, Hyundai and Toyota in the coming months. The U.S. Embassy also chose to move in the region, near the Bagatelle Office Park.
Moka is growing and continues its responsible development following the principle of integrated urbanisation. There are various projects to bring forth new opportunities of development and investment. In the wraps: the creation of a vibrant city centre, an ideal destination to all Mauritians.
Visit the website : https://www.moka.mu/en