‘30% of unbuilt Harare CBD a result of outdated, poor city planning’

More than 30% of land within 5km radius of the central business district in Harare and Maputo remains unbuilt due to outdated and poorly enforced city plans, a new report has shown.

Source: ‘30% of unbuilt Harare CBD a result of outdated, poor city planning’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 15, 2017


In a report, Africa’s Cities: Opening Doors to the World, the World Bank said the downtowns lack structure despite being crowded.

“This land near the core is not left unbuilt by design in African cities, as it can be in well-developed downtowns such as Paris (which reserves 14% of downtown land for green space, making densely-populated districts more liveable),” the bank said.

“Instead, outdated and poorly enforced city plans, along with dysfunctional property markets, create inefficient land use patterns that no one intended.”

The report said not all land in the vicinity of the centre needs to be built up; land can also be left empty for green spaces.

“In Paris, for example, 14% of the city centre is unbuilt; in Singapore, about 20% of the land in the centre is intentionally left undeveloped,” the bank said.

“In contrast, in cities like Antananarivo, Madagascar; Brazzaville, the Republic of the Congo; and Harare, Zimbabwe, non-contiguous built-up areas are scattered throughout the centre.”

The report said a study of Ethiopia, Kenya and Zimbabwe and a scan of 28 large property development projects in Africa finds only very little land-based financing.

“Of the three countries, Ethiopia has generated the most significant volume through the land-lease system. Kenya and Zimbabwe have legislation in place, but are under-performing or ineffective in ring-fencing the proceeds for infrastructure,” the bank said.

The report said high rates of slum living within urban areas were characteristic of most African countries and only Zimbabwe and South Africa, fall below the non-African average.