Social Change: Urban Governance and Urbanization in Zimbabwe

Research paper by Davison Muchadenyika, John J. Williams

Indexed on: 09 Mar '16Published on: 03 Mar '16Published in: Urban Forum


Urbanization is an essential determinant of social change. For social change to take place, the process of urbanization requires extensive management (through urban governance). This paper outlines the context of Zimbabwe’s urban governance system by focusing on the historical and recent trends in urban governance and urbanization. In particular, our emphasis is placed on how pre- and post-colonial governments advanced social change through urban governance. In both pre- and post-independence Zimbabwe, local government is a political reality that ruling regimes manipulates, associates with and advance political interests. Politics continue to shape and destabilize a functioning, independent, and autonomous form of urban governance in Zimbabwe. Urban governance remains under incessant threat from central government. Central-local government contestations are leading to poor service delivery; a development that is affecting social change. The article argues that the politics, governance, and institutional behaviors in urban centers of Zimbabwe deteriorated severely calling for a restructuring of urban governance.