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Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter
Harare City Council is reviewing the Harare Master Plan (1993) to ensure that it reflects current socio-economic realities, as well as avoiding the over stretching of the Central Business District.
City chief planner Mr Samuel Nyabeze said last week that the new plan should address other land use purposes, which were not catered for in the master plan.
“We are in the process of reviewing the master plan to ensure that it is in tandem with the times we are living in, he said. We also want to ensure that the CBD does not get overstretched. We realise that most suburbs do not have services, that is why people crowd the CBD.
“We are inviting residents so that we get their input because we notice that they do not have essential services in their suburbs except for areas maybe like Sam Levy and Westgate. In planning for inclusive cities, the views of residents and other stakeholders are very important.”
Mr Nyabeze said Harare was now at 60 percent in its efforts to achieve a World Class City status by 2025, saying what was remaining was to spruce up and modernise some of the existing structures, as well as adding some infrastructure.
He said a World Class City should compare with other prominent cities like New York and Johannesburg.
“It should have well planned roads, reliable sewer and water services. Information, Communication Technology and other services should be offered within a reasonable time, said Mr Nyabeze.
Principal city planner Mrs Priscilla Charumbira said Harare was dealing with the bureaucracy associated with approval of building plans.
“We have set up a one-stop shop for approval of layout plans, she said. We are trying to shorten the process. Investors were complaining that we take time to approve plans, that is what we are now working on.”
Mrs Charumbira said there were areas the city was lagging behind in terms of traffic and other plans.
Town planner Mr Percy Toriro is on record encouraging local authorities to periodically review their plans.
“The Harare Master Plan is a 1993 plan, he once said. So many policies and other parameters have changed. It is of necessity that it is reviewed to capture all those changes. Likewise, all local plans must undergo the same process.”
Harare-based urban planner Mr Shingai Kawadza said it was evident that Harare’s CBD was experiencing spatial changes, as its boundaries were encroaching into suburban areas such as Eastlea, Milton Park, Belvedere and Belgravia, leaving the CBD under stress of decay.
Mr Kawadza said some of the factors influencing urban relocation included high and unaffordable rentals in the CBD.