Food Production, Processing and Retailing through the Lens of Spatial Planning Legislation and Regulations in Zimbabwe: Evidence from Epworth

Percy Toriro

– PhD Thesis – 

The thesis investigates whether the Zimbabwe planning regulatory framework engages with urban food systems and whether those regulations and plans are appropriate to the lived experience in African cities particularly focusing on the poor through the lens of food. This is done by examining how food production, processing and retailing have been enhanced, constrained and regulated by urban planning laws and regulations and the administering professionals in the urban settlement of Epworth near Harare in Zimbabwe. Food is a basic need but has not been given prominence in planning discourses.

The use of food as a lens through which to examine the appropriateness of planning practice, laws, and the general regulatory framework provides a useful opportunity to consider the impact of planning on livelihoods of the urban poor in the global South. This thesis also provides an opportunity to link the two distinct but complimentary disciplines of urban planning and urban food and contributes to knowledge on contemporary planning and food systems. Treating the two as separate and disconnected fields has created gaps and inconsistencies that manifest themselves in inappropriate regulations and plans thereby causing insecure and risky food systems.

Using mixed research methods, the thesis concludes that the legislative framework engages food in a largely inappropriate way for several reasons. Firstly, the legislative framework was adapted from a Western context which differs significantly with that of the global South. Secondly the framework was enacted for a different time and context many years ago unlike the context prevailing now. Thirdly the inappropriateness of the governance framework has been exacerbated by the modernist values held by most planning professionals. A key finding of the thesis is that most planners do not support informal livelihoods; whilst they practice in a largely informal poverty-stricken environment, they aspire for a modern ‘world-class’ city environment. The planners also do not believe that they have a role in food systems planning. Meanwhile, they are busy making decisions that threaten the same food systems. The planning regulatory framework therefore requires amendment of the inappropriate clauses whilst positive clauses should be utilized.

University of Cape Town

Featured Country: Zimbabwe

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