Home Industrial Sites: Spaces of Hope or Spaces of Despair?


  • Simbarashe Mazongonda
  • Percy Toriro
  • Tanyaradzwa Mapfumo


cottage industry, informal manufacturing, clustering, touts, legality


Most debates about the informal sector occur within specific disciplines, but they all happen in space that is the domain of spatial planning. This article provides a penetrative analysis into what transpires in home industries, places where numerous informal manufacturing activities take place. The article is based on a longitudinal-single case study of a site known as the Complex in one residential area of Harare, Zimbabwe. Within this case study, data were gathered using observation and photography, semi-structured interviews, questionnaire survey and documentary review. Qualitative, quantitative and spatial data were analysed using sentimental analysis, R Language and QGIS, respectively. The research revealed that the Complex has grown beyond its set boundary, depicting a successful cluster. However, in development control terms, growth beyond set boundaries is regarded as a violation of urban legislation. Also noted is the presence of strong social capital that bonds manufacturers together. Nevertheless, most manufacturers raised complaints about intermediary activities by touts that disturb the smooth flow of their daily business. The concept of home industries supports the New Urban Agenda in many ways. It is recommended that urban legislation and regulation be revised to incorporate contextual realities because the laws governing home industries in Zimbabwe were enacted at least two decades ago and do not fully reflect the changing socio-economic environment. Furthermore, planning authorities must devise strategies for re-designing home industries with view of decongesting them.