Recreational Facilities and Space Needs Analysis and Residential Densification: A Review of Design Standards in a Case Study of Harare, Zimbabwe


  • Elias Mazhindu
  • Yvonne Munanga


recreational space, needs, modernist planning, governance, residents


The designing of recreational facilities and spaces attentive to the
analytical daily needs of beneficiaries can make densified residential
suburbs healthy and vibrant. Yet, enduring modernist development
planning practices in a post-colonial African city seem to downplay
recreational space in both old and new poor neighbourhoods. The
article traces this trend to the segregationist urban planning
standards in pre-independence Zimbabwe that curried favour with
the small racist white enclave community. Nevertheless, the skewed
planning standards now seem to overshadow recreational space in
emerging and poor urban settlements. The empirical work of the
article examines the impact of these planning standards on
recreational space in the low-income suburbs of Mbare, Highfields,
Cold Comfort and Crowborough Farm in Harare. The results
demonstrate how low-income households blame the poor quality of
social life in densified neighbourhoods on the existing cracks in the
governance of recreational facilities and space. The experience
beckons regular policy reviews of residential design standards to
respond to the analytical needs of residents in old and emerging lowincome suburbs over time.