Time for unplanned urban and rural settlements is over and local authorities must make urban expansion plans in line with Government’s vision of an upper middle income economy by 2030, Acting President Constantino Chiwenga has said.
The Acting President said this while officially opening a two-day Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National workshop on spatial planning.
“The era of unplanned urban and rural settlements is gone. We need to take spatial planning seriously and it is my hope that this workshop will come up with sound and sustainable solutions that address the challenges that local authorities are faced with today,” the Acting President said.
“It goes without saying that the mushrooming of new suburbs that have become an eyesore in many parts of our cities and towns, is a consequence of either the absence of, or poor spatial planning. We therefore need to plan properly the growth and expansion of our urban settlements bearing in mind our development trajectory towards a middle income economy by 2030,” he said.
A number of illegal and unplanned settlements sprouted at the height of activities of land barons and Government has since instituted a probe into their actions. Thousands of people were fleeced of their money by the land barons.
Acting President Chiwenga said any development should be guided by master or local layout plans to create orderly, healthy, safe, functional and attractive environments.
“Spatial planning ensures efficient land utilisation and space conservation. Land is finite and we can no longer afford to keep on growing our urban settlements horizontally. Instead we should revisit old plans and start building vertical structures,” he said.
Acting President Chiwenga said unplanned urban expansion was also chewing up agricultural land.
“Increasingly, we have been expending arable land which impacts on agricultural production and our ability to feed the nation as the population grows in the future,” he said.
The Acting President said spatial planning was critical in attracting both domestic and foreign investors.
“I am quite positive that stakeholders here present are aware that land, its planning, administration and management is at the centre of achievement of the 2030 vision of a middle income economy. Therefore, spatial planning is critical in ensuring that this valuable resource is utilised economically and to best advantage for economic benefit to the nation,” he said.
The workshop is being attended by planners drawn from local authorities countrywide.