Social movements and planning institutions in urban transformation : housing in metropolitan Harare, Zimbabwe (2000-2015)
This thesis examines the interaction between social movements and planning institutions in the delivery of low-income housing in metropolitan Harare. Post-2000, the problem of housing in Zimbabwe has been characterised by the weak technical and financial capacity of local authorities and central government to deliver low-income housing and social movements challenging conventional housing delivery approaches and promoting alternatives. Between 2000 and 2015, the largest share of low-income housing was provided by housing movements. This study employs transformative theory (Friedmann, 2011) to explain how societies, especially marginalised people, organise alternative services pertinent to their lifestyles. The thesis draws on 95 key informant interviews, 14 focus group discussions (with 120 members of housing movements), and enumeration survey data (covering 6,636 households). It uses extensive material from document analysis (council resolutions, council committee reports, departmental annual reports, co-operative audits and reports, and government investigation reports). This study uses purposive sampling in which defined criteria were used to select housing movements. The study suggests that there has been urban transformation in metropolitan Harare. As argued in this thesis, urban transformation is evidenced by changes in the urban fabric (for instance, through new housing and infrastructure services for the predominantly poor population), reconfiguration of power (with the urban poor playing a vital role in urban development) and the adoption by planning institutions of grassroots-centred planning and housing delivery approaches. This transformation seems to be the result of four factors. First, the sudden increase in social movements involved in the ‘formal and informal’ delivery of low-income housing. Secondly, the drastic decline in the capacity of central and local governments to fulfil their housing delivery mandates. Thirdly, the changes to low-income housing delivery approaches in terms of both planning and housing policy and practice. Lastly, the Fast Track Land Reform Programme has had a wide impact on access to housing in peri-urban areas. The study concludes that urban transformation has primarily been the result of social movements placing pressure on planning authorities which has brought a new urban development order. Interactions between social movements and planning institutions have been characterised by struggles, contestation and alliances, which continue to profoundly shape urban planning and housing in Zimbabwe.