Harare City Council will soon demolish old dilapidated buildings, as it moves to upgrade and modernise the city to international standards.
In an interview last week, the city’s town planner, Gloria Gwatsvaira, highlighted that Local Development Plan 22 (LDP 22) will also ease congestion in the city through organising the informal sector.
LDP 22 is a statutory instrument to control monitor and guide developments in the Central Business District (CBD) and its surroundings.
“Reviewing the city centre, LDP is to address the challenges and changes that are all over due. The plan is outdated as it was done in 1996 and only reviewed in 2000. Its lifespan is five to 10 years at most. We have new issues that need to be addressed to have a functional city.”
“With consent from the owners of the buildings, we will demolish so that we build modern structures. We want to accommodate different land uses in the CBD within certain buildings. We can have shop offices, commercial and residential spaces within the same building,” Gwatsvaira said.
She added: “There will be a lot of change as we are targeting infrastructure and buildings in particular.
“We are going to assess the state and condition of buildings I order to go up. We want to have high-rise buildings. There are areas in the CBD which have suffered due to urban decay such as downtown Harare. We want to redevelop those areas so that we give the CBD a facelift.”
Gwatsvaira said after the mapping and surveys are done there will be a new revitalised city where traffic and business flow freely without interferences.
She also highlighted that the LDP will also address the issue of the informal sector as council wants to have zones that will control and monitor the developments to reduce vehicular and human congestion in the city.
LDP 22 comes as council management had sought approval for a supplementary budget of $3 million to review the city’s master plan which has not been updated since its adoption in 1994.
According to town planner Percy Toriro, a master plan outlines how a city is supposed to grow, including major road upgrades, water and sewer infrastructure, strategies on housing delivery, employment creation and environmental management.
“A master plan has to be periodically reviewed because circumstances change over time.
“For example, when the Harare Master Plan was prepared before the land reform programme had happened, the economy was very formal, there were very few vendors who could all fit in planned areas, housing was still largely delivered by councils and not cooperatives, and the population of Harare was still around 700 000.”
“Due to changes, the policies in the master plan are no longer as relevant. It also means for all new developments outside of the master plan, there is no means of accommodating them in Harare’s spatial development,” Toriro said.