The layout of Pinelands is based on the revolutionary town planning ideas of Sir Ebenezer Howard, and was the first attempt at a town-planned area in South Africa. Over 6,000 Cape Town citizens had succumbed to the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic and in order to combat the overcrowding which had been a major contributing factor in the spread of disease, Pinelands became the first Garden City to be developed in South Africa. It was originally a Victorian era farm named Uitvlugt that had thousands of pine trees planted in it, and was later deemed an economic failure by the Department of Forestry. The land was then granted to “The Garden Cities Trust” and the founding Deed of Trust was signed in 1919. One of the first members of the trust, Richard Stuttaford (head of the department store Stuttafords), made a £10,000 gift donation to serve as capital, and a loan of £15,000 from the government was invested in Pinelands. The trust brought in an overseas expert, Albert John Thompson, in 1920 to design the area.
The first (thatched) house in Pinelands to be occupied was 3 Mead Way and was built in February 1922. The house and entire street, including The Mead were declared a national monument in 1983. The original township area is currently a proposed heritage area. Pinelands converted to a municipality in 1948 and in 1996 merged into the City of Cape Townmetropolitan municipality. The old Pinelands Town Council offices now accommodate the Pinelands Subcouncil.