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Urban Development In Zimbabwe: A Human Settlement Perspective

Listed author(s):
  • Killian MUNZWA


    (Department of Rural and Urban Planning, University of Zimbabwe POB MP 167, Mount Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe)



    (Ethiopian Civil Service College POB 5648, CMC Road, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)

Registered author(s):

    This paper examines and analyses the historical development of Zimbabwean towns and cities with a view to tracing and understanding policy directions, urban spatial development trends and other factors such as population dynamics that may have led to the development of the present-day urban settlements in the country. The paper observes that whilst pre-colonial cities existed during the golden age of the Munhumutapa dynasty and empire, these had no influence on the modern town and city because they were too distant and their experiences had long been lost by the time the colonial town was introduced in the country, some four centuries later. Furthermore the paper observes that whilst policy may easily be changed or even reversed, it is a near impossibility to do the same with the spatial physical developments such as buildings and infrastructure – roads, water reticulation, sewerage reticulation and treatment works, railway lines, telecommunication lines and power lines. As a result of these realities the form and structure of our cities has remained to a large extent as originally conceived, designed and developed with perhaps some cosmetic changes in the form of redevelopments and densification of certain sectors or areas and sprawling expansion. This has also led to the many challenges of urban poverty, inadequate housing, inadequate provision of serves (potable clean water, energy, and garbage collection) and environmental quality - issues of pollution- the towns and cities are grappling with today typified by Harare and Chitungwiza, which are sited upstream of their water supply sources and as a result pollute them. The paper also notes that the socio-economic policies and political expedience by both the colonial and independent governments have had significant impacts on the morphology (shape, structure and population distribution) of towns and cities of Zimbabwe.

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    Article provided by Research Centre in Public Administration and Public Services, Bucharest, Romania in its journal Theoretical and Empirical Researches in Urban Management.

    Volume (Year): 5 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 5(14) (February)
    Pages: 120-146

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    Handle: RePEc:rom:terumm:v:5:y:2010:i:14:p:120-146
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