The Potential of Spatial Planning as a Tool for Cities' Pursuit of Sustainable Development Goal 11 in Zimbabwe




Sustainable Development Goal 11, local authorities, Spatial planning, law and policy, Zimbabwe


This article analyses the extent to which the applicable legal and policy frameworks in Zimbabwe enable cities to use spatial planning to pursue the vision encapsulated in SDG 11. This article argues that although the existing legal framework makes adequate provision for features that can hypothetically guide cities to use spatial planning to pursue the vision envisaged in SDG 11, their potential is constrained by diverse factors such as lack of effective public participation in local governance, the inability of local authorities to generate sufficient revenue, systemic corruption in spatial planning processes, and under-utilisation of a flexible and accommodating legal framework. The research is based on an integrated analysis of primary and secondary sources of law.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...

Author Biographies

Liberty Masekesa, University of South Africa

Postdoctoral Fellow Department of Public, Constitutional and International Law (CLAW), University of South Africa (UNISA)

Oliver Fuo, Faculty of Law at the North-West University

Dr. Oliver Fuo is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus. His areas of expertise include: Local Government Law; Socio-Economic Rights Law; and Constitutional Environmental Law. He has published several peer reviewed papers on issues that cut accross his areas of specialisation in DHET accredited journals and has presented several papers in national and international conferences.




African Commission on Human and People's Rights Principles and Guidelines on the Implementation of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the African Charter on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR Banjul 2010)

Aust H and Du Plessis A "Introduction" in Aust H and Du Plessis A (eds) The Globalisation of Urban Governance: Legal Perspectives on Sustainable Development Goal 11 (Routledge New York 2019) 3-16

Bryson JM Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations 3rd ed (Jossey-Bass San Francisco 2004)"

Burton E, Jenks M and Williams K "Compact Cities and Sustainability: An Introduction" in Burton E, Jenks M and Williams K (eds) The Compact City: A Sustainable Urban Form? (Routledge New York 2005) 2-6

Chan NW, Samat N and Hoa NM "Decision Support System for Urban Planning" in Chan NW et al (eds) Sustainable Urban Development Textbook (Water Watch Penang and Yokohama City University 2016) 199-203

Cheshmehzangi A and Dawodu A Sustainable Urban Development in the Age of Climate Change: People: The Cure or Curse (Springer Nature Singapore 2019)

Chigara B et al "An Analysis of the Effects of Piecemeal Planning on Development of Small Urban Centres in Zimbabwe: Case Study of Plumtree" 2013 International Journal of Management and Social Sciences Research 27-40

Chigwata TC "Fiscal Decentralisation: Constraints to Revenue-Raising by Local Government in Zimbabwe" in Schoburgh E and Ryan R (eds) Handbook of Research on Subnational Governance and Development (IGI Global Hershey 2017) 218-240

Chigwata TC and Ziswa M "Entrenching Decentralisation in Africa: A Review of the African Charter on the Values and Principles of Decentralisation, Local Governance and Local Development" 2018 HJRL 295-316

Chigwata TC, Muchapondwa V and De Visser J "Ministerial Directives to Local Government in Zimbabwe: Top-Down Governance in a Decentralized Constitution" 2017 J Afr L 41-56

Chikerema AF "Citizen Participation and Local Democracy in Zimbabwean Local Government System" 2013 Journal of Humanity and Social Science 87-90

Chirisa I "Building and Urban Planning in Zimbabwe with Special Reference to Harare: Putting Needs, Costs and Sustainability in Focus" 2014 Consilience: The Journal of Sustainable Development 1-26

Chitimira H "An Analysis of Socio-Economic and Cultural Rights Protection under the Zimbabwe Constitution of 2013" 2017 J Afr L 171-196

Clarke M and Stewart J Planning for Change: Strategic Planning for Local Government (Longman Harlow 1998)

Combined Harare Residents Association The Green Paper on Zimbabwe's Local Government (CHRA Harare 2014)

Doust K "Toward a Typology of Sustainability for Cities" 2014 Journal of Traffic and Transport Engineering 151-182

Du Plessis A "The Readiness of South African Law and Policy for the Global Pursuit of the Sustainable City" 2017 LDD 239-262

Eiraibe N, Al-Malki AA and Furlan R "Exploration of Sustainable Urban Qualities of Al Sadd Area in Doha" 2015 American Journal of Sociological Research 101-118

Fuo O "Funding and Good Financial Governance as Imperatives for Cities' Pursuit of SDG 11" in Aust H and Du Plessis AA (eds) The Globalisation of Urban Governance: Legal Perspectives on Sustainable Development Goal 11 (Routledge London 2019) 87-107

Gates LP Strategic Planning with Critical Success Factors and Future Scenarios: An Integrated Strategic Planning Framework (Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburg 2010)

Gupta J and Nilsson M "Toward a Multi-Level Action Framework for Sustainable Development Goals" in Kanie N and Biermann F (eds) Governing through Goals: Sustainable Development Goals as Governance Innovation (Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge 2017) 275-294

Healey P et al (eds) Making Strategic Spatial Plans (Routledge London 1997)

Hendrick R "What is Wrong with Advice on Strategic Planning?" 2010 Public Administration Review 222-223

International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives The Local Agenda 21 Planning Guide: An Introduction to Sustainable Development Planning (International Development Research Centre Ottawa 1996)

Jabareen JR "Sustainable Urban Forms: Their Typologies, Models and Concepts" 2006 Journal of Planning Education and Research 38-52

Joss S Sustainable Cities: Governing for Urban Innovation (Palgrave Macmillan New York 2015)

Kamete AY "In the Service of Tyranny: Debating the Role of Planning in Zimbabwe's Urban 'Clean-up' Operation" 2009 Urban Studies Journal Limited 897-922

Kanuri C et al Getting Started with the SDGs in Cities: A Guide for Stakeholders (SDSN New York 2016)

Masekesa "The Potential of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in the Pursuit of Sustainable Development Goal 11 in Zimbabwe" 2021 PELJ 1-43

Masekesa "A Human Rights-Based Approach to Implementing Target 11.6 of Sustainable Development Goal 11 in Zimbabwe" 2022 AHRLJ 241-265

Masekesa L The Role of Local Authorities in Realising Goal 11 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Zimbabwe (PhD-thesis North-West University 2021)

Masvaure S "Elusive Public Participation: Citizen Decision-Making in Budget Formulation Process in the City of Harare, Zimbabwe" 2016 Urban Forum 447-463

Mitchell D "Planning for Change: Incorporating Contextual Implementation Design into Strategic Planning" 2018 State and Local Government Review 110-118

Moyo A "Basic Tenets of Zimbabwe's New Constitutional Order" in Moyo A (ed) Selected Aspects of the 2013 Zimbabwean Constitution and the Declaration of Rights (Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Lund 2019) 10-31

Muchadenyika D and Williams JJ "Politics and the Practice of Planning: The Case of Zimbabwean Cities" 2017 Cities 33-40

Mutema EP "Debating the Implications of the Urban Councils Act Chapter 29:15 (1996) on the Practice of Good Corporate Governance in Zimbabwe's Urban Councils Authority" 2012 International Journal of Asian Social Science 2089-2095

Ndhlovu N Protection of Socio-Economic Rights in Zimbabwe. A Critical Assessment of the Domestic Framework under the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe (Diplomica Publishing GmbH Hamburg 2016)

Sattherwaite D The Earthscan Reader in Sustainable Cities (Earthscan London 2004)

Silva EA and Acheampong RA Developing an Inventory and Typology of Land-Use Planning Systems and Policy Instruments in OECD Countries (OECD Paris 2015)

Slavin MI "The Rise of the Urban Sustainability Movement in America" in Slavin MI (ed) Sustainability in America's Cities: Creating the Green Metropolis (Island Press Washington DC 2011) 1-19

Stead D "Best Practices and Policy Transfer in Spatial Planning" 2012 Planning Practice and Research 103-116

Šuklev B and Debarliev S "Strategic planning Effectiveness: Comparative Analysis of the Macedonian Context" 2012 Economic and Business Review 63-93

Toriro P "Plan Preparation and Review as Tools for Developing Urban Resilience in Zimbabwe: Conflicts and Possibilities" 2021 Journal of Urban Systems and Innovations for Resilience in Zimbabwe 132-149

UN Sustainable Development Goals Progress Report (UN New York 2019)

UN Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (UN New York 2015)

UN The World Population Prospects (UN New York 2019)

UN-Habitat Habitat III Issue Paper 8: Urban and Spatial Planning and Design (UN-Habitat Quito 2015)

UN-Habitat The City We Need 2.0: Towards a New Urban Paradigm (UN-Habitat Nairobi 2016)

UN-Habitat International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning: Towards a Compendium of Inspiring Practices (UN-Habitat Nairobi 2015)

UN-Habitat SDG Goal 11: Monitoring Framework, a Guide to Assist National and Local Governments (UN-Habitat Nairobi 2016)

Van der Berg A "South Africa's Integrated Urban Development Framework and Sustainable Development Goal 11: Policy Mismatch or Success?" 2017 Obiter 557-573

Van Wyk J Planning Law 2nd ed (Juta Cape Town 2012)

Virtudes A "Good Governance Principles in Spatial Planning at Local Scale" 2016 Procedia Engineering 1710-1714

Wheeler SM "The New Regionalism: Key Characteristics of an Emerging Movement" 2002 Journal of the American Planning Association 267-278

Yelder P et al Effective Strategic Planning (Enterprise Community Development Columbia 1999)

Case law

Zimbabwe Homeless People's Federation and 7 Ors v Minister of Local Government and National Housing and 3 Ors (Civil Appeal SC 541 of 2019; SC 94 of 2020) [2020] ZWSC 94 (17 July 2020)


Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act [Chapter 10:27] 2002

Administrative Justice Act [Chapter 10:28] 2004

Civil Protection Act [Chapter 10:06] 1989

Constitution of Zimbabwe, Amendment (No 20) Act, 2013

Environmental Management Act [Chapter 20:27] 2002

Environmental Management (Environmental Impact Assessments and Ecosystems Protection) Regulations, SI 7 of 2007

Environmental Management Prohibition Access to Genetic Resources and Indigenous Genetic Resource-Based Knowledge Regulations, SI 61 of 2009

Housing Standards Control Act [Chapter 29:08] 1972

National Museums and Monuments Act [Chapter 25:11] 1972

Regional Town and Country Planning Act [Chapter 29:12] 1976

Roads Act [Chapter 13:18] 2001

Rural District Councils Act [Chapter 29:13] 1998

Urban Councils Act [Chapter 29:15] 1996

Waste and Solid Waste Disposal Regulations, SI 6 of 2007

Water Act [Chapter 20:24] 1998

Government publications

Chitungwiza-Seke Combination Concept Plan (2015)

City of Harare Results-Based Strategic Plan (2017-2020) (2017)

City of Bulawayo Corporate Strategy (2020-2024) (2020)

Harare Combination Master Plan (1993)

Harare Enterprise Corridor Local Development Plan (2020)

National Climate Change Response Strategy (2014)

National Climate Policy (2016)

National Environmental Policy and Strategies (2009)

National Housing Policy (2012)

National Transport Policy (2012)

Norton Town Council Strategic Plan (2019-2023) (2019)

Zimbabwe National Water Policy (2012)

International instruments

Habitat III New Urban Agenda UN Doc A/RES/71/256 (2016)

Internet sources

Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 1990 General Comment No 3: The Nature of States Parties' Obligations (Art 2, Para 1, of the Covenant) accessed 12 April 2024

Kowalski C 2020 Impact of the Dollar on the Commodities Prices the-dollar-impacts-commodity-prices-809294 accessed 2 January 2024

Ministry of Finance 2021 The 2022 National Budget Statement: "Reinforcing Sustainable Economic Recovery and Resilience" (Presentation to the Parliament of Zimbabwe, 25 November 2021)

downloads/category/18-government-gazettes?downloads=1756:2022-national-budget-statement-25-nov-21.pdf accessed 2 February 2022

Office of the Auditor-General 2019 Report for the Financial Year Ended December 31, 2018 on Local Authorities

sites/veritas_d/files/AGs%20Report%20on%20Local%20Authorities%202018.pdf accessed 23 April 2023

Republic of Zimbabwe 2015 National Report for Habitat III accessed 23 April 2023

Republic of Zimbabwe 2020 National Development Strategy 1, January 2021 – December 2025

files/NDS.pdf accessed 23 April 2023

Republic of Zimbabwe 2020 Zimbabwe Progress Review Report of Sustainable Development Goals accessed 13 April 2024

United Nations Environment Programme date unknown Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities accessed 12 April 2024



How to Cite

Masekesa, L., & Fuo, O. (2024). The Potential of Spatial Planning as a Tool for Cities’ Pursuit of Sustainable Development Goal 11 in Zimbabwe. Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, 27, (Published on 8 July 2024) pp 1–35.



SARChi CLES Series on Cities, Law and Environmental Sustainability

Similar Articles

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 > >> 

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.