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Johannesburg’s quest to be a world-class smart city is steadily beginning to become a reality.

The Diepsloot Library and Hall – situated on the premises of the Diepsloot Youth Centre in Diepsloot, one of the City’s fastest-growing townships – will soon become a fully-fledged wireless hotspot in line with similar hi-tech initiatives taking place around the world, according to City of Joburg’s Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Community Development, Councillor Chris Vondo.

Diepsloot residents have expressed delight at the City’s upgrading of the library and hall. After the total revamp of the library and the addition of a cyber-hotspot, among other upgrades, the centre provides users with a one-stop information access and opportunity portal.

“Members of the community are thoroughly enjoying the benefits of the upgrades. More exciting developments are still to come,” says MMC Vondo.

The upgrades, carried out at a cost of R2. 65 million, include the total repurposing of the library to optimise its usage, revamping and retrofitting of the building’s electrical and lighting systems to be more energy-efficient, installation of green technology air-conditioning systems and ceiling insulation to preserve and regulate heating in icy weather.

The upgrades, which are aimed at increasing multifaceted usage, include the establishment of a studio to cater for fine arts. The centre also serves as a platform to identify artistic and creative talent in the community.

Another exciting development is the cyber programme, which aims to give users expanded internet access. The completion and equipping of the facility are expected to take place in the 2015-2016 financial year.

“We’ve set an ideal platform to transform the area into a cyber-hotspot by establishing hotspots and concentrated access areas, a move that sees Diepsloot move towards achieving the smart city status. The establishment of this cyber programme was made possible through generous donations by both public and private entities,” says Cyber Project Coordinator Lekginya Matsebe.

A smart city is defined as one that uses information and communication technology as an engine to drive growth and development. A smart city is an environmentally friendly neighbourhood created from a combination of concepts and technologies, including the enhancement of energy efficiency, water and waste management, and conservation of resources.

Guided by development objectives of the Growth and Development Strategy 2040 (GDS 2040), the City’s mission is to continue positioning Johannesburg as one of the world’s leading cities, striving to become a smart city by providing services that are easy to access and use, efficient and responsive.