Zimbabwe’s planners argue economic merits of sprawl vs. urban revitalization

Town planning experts last week grappled with the subject of regeneration of Zimbabwe‘s decaying cities, with debate on whether it was prudent to create new urban centres or upgrade existing ones.

The town planners, who gathered in Harare for the Institute of Architects of Zimbabwe (IAZ) conference, were drawn from various professions involving urban development and included architects, engineers, town planners, quantity surveyors, local authorities, government officials and representatives of tertiary institutions

The conference ran under the theme, “Regeneration of the Inner City“.

Sasha Jogi, a renowned town planner, made it clear that he was for the idea of setting up new towns and cities instead of trying to make the old urban centres vibrant and attractive.

Michael Pearce, one of Zimbabwe’s leading architects, insisted that from his experience in the work he has done in Melbourne, Australia, dying cities could be brought back to life.

He said dilapidated buildings could be revamped at minimal cost while roads and other infrastructure could also be upgraded, making it possible for the old cities to adequately serve current and future needs of citizens.

[Photo of Harare skyline by Macvivo]

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