IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Urban Development In Zimbabwe: A Human Settlement Perspective


  • 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)


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Killian MUNZWA & Jonga WELLINGTON, 2010. "Urban Development In Zimbabwe: A Human Settlement Perspective," Theoretical and Empirical Researches in Urban Management, Research Centre in Public Administration and Public Services, Bucharest, Romania, vol. 5(5(14)), pages 120-146, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:rom:terumm:v:5:y:2010:i:14:p:120-146

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    urban; development; human settlement; population; colonial; services; morphology; demography.;

    JEL classification:

    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rom:terumm:v:5:y:2010:i:14:p:120-146. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Colesca Sofia). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.