Metropolitan Councils: An Emerging Paradigm for Urban, Regional Planning, and Development in Zimbabwe

Metropolitan Councils: An Emerging Paradigm for Urban, Regional Planning, and Development in Zimbabwe

Innocent Chirisa (University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe), Gift Mhlanga (University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe), Buhle Dube (University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe) and Liaison Mukarwi (University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5448-6.ch012

Abstract

Although no traction in the envisioned direction has been observed since the adoption of the concept of “metropolitan councils” in the Constitution of Zimbabwe (Amendment No. 20 of 2013), there is much potential, scope, and sense in the idea to spur urban and regional development under the impact of urbanization in the country and beyond. In the Constitution of Zimbabwe, Section 269, Harare and Bulawayo Metropolitan are the only regions due for metropolitan councils. The present study seeks to unravel three critical aspects surrounding the concept metropolitan councils as a new paradigm for urban and regional planning and development in Zimbabwe. The study is based on archival methods, which make use of existing documents including the Constitution of Zimbabwe amendment No.20, media reports, reports and plans, by local authorities, among others. Textual and content analysis have been applied to decipher and pigeonhole into different issues towards clustering them into meaningful themes, hence molding the debate of the chapter.
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Theoretical And Analytical Framework

This section explains, in detail, the concepts that shape the metropolitanisation ideals to spur regional socio-economic development of regions.

The Concept of Region

The concept of region is relatively broad depending on one’s perception and inherent line of argument. A region can be defined as a homogeneous area with physical and cultural characteristics distinct from those of neighbouring areas (Vance & Henderson, 1968: 377). According to Vitkovsky and Kolossov (1980: 539), a region is a complex, spatial socioeconomic system, characterized by a stable combination of political forces and possessing a specific complex of features. In this regard, the most critical issue in conceptualizing a region may revolve around the requirement of geographical congruence and proximity. Thus, this creates a question whether a region is geographically bounded or it can as well consist of areas that are spatially discontinuous. According to Russett (1967: 2-7) most analysts reject a simple geographic definition of a region in favour of some criterion of economic and social homogeneity. Consequently, this paper would regard the concept of region as referring to areas, which are relatively bound both geographically and socio-economically (Dube, 2017: 100). The study is of the view that metropolitan areas are regions which, when developed, would help in resuscitation of cultural oneness and socio-economic recovery in the areas concerned.

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