2014 Volume 2 Issue 4 Pages 19-29
The state of the city of Harare in terms of its present general outlook and critical analysis of its carrying capacity as a colonial city tends to perpetuate an ingrained myth among urban planners and the common people alike that planning has failed the former so called sunshine-city. Yet such a view treats with amnesia the wealth in the elasticity of planning as an instrument for change as well as a strategic force to command and direct the trajectory of cities. It is in this context that this paper discusses the elasticity of planning of Harare as anchored on a complex but well-knit constellation of the factors of good urban governance and political will. These can allow for urban reform and smart transformation. A close look at the city after 1980 shows that the city of Harare has been subjected to much bickering, contestations and intergovernmental impositions of policy hence it exemplifies policy from above as opposed to policy from below. This is largely explained by the central government’s hard and fast wrenching control in directing the affairs of the city hence negating the role of the residents’ needs and wants. Recently the city has been facing several challenges, more than ever before, and the more critical challenge now is the adopted culture of colonial blaming rather that solving the deep seated problems of poor management approaches. The present study is skewed towards assessing the historical and contemporary socio-economic and political dynamics as far as they have inspired, championed, ignored, and arm-twisted planning. This has largely been to the detriment of the city. Thus, a vortex and maelstrom over the relevance of planning has been created which now requires planning to exonerate itself by proving its worthiness to the citizens and investors whose creeds and needs it has betrayed over the years.