An analysis of the role of town planning in contributing towards the sustainable practice of urban agriculture: a case study of Msasa Park, Harare.
Nhimura, Jeremy Godfrey Tendai.
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The Urban Agriculture (UA) sector plays a key role in the lives of millions of Zimbabweans. In Zimbabwe, urban farmers practice urban agriculture (UA) to reduce poverty, create employment, and for food security. It is evident that Zimbabweans benefit a lot from practising UA. Regardless of all the benefits of practising UA, the local municipalities still do not fully recognize UA as a land use and also regard it as an illegal activity. The current planning system used in Zimbabwe with regards to UA is called the Traditional Planning System (TPS), which was introduced by the British colonizers during the colonial era. The TPS system prohibits any form of UA in cities and argues that all urban land must be used for urban land uses which include residential development, infrastructure development and commercial uses. Currently, the city of Harare is temporarily allowing urban farmers to practice UA to address food shortages, high unemployment rate and other economic hardships facing the nation. However, most of the urban farmers in Harare are practising this phenomenon on wetlands, roadsides and other environmentally sensitive areas which are not sustainable. This research examines the role of town planning in addressing the unsustainable practice of the UA sector in Msasa Park and the surrounding areas. Since the main focus of the research is on sustainability, the research made use of theories which include sustainable development and urban ecology. To obtain the relevant data, the research made use of the mixed methods approach which comprises quantitative and qualitative research methods. The research findings showed that the UA sector in Msasa Park and the surrounding areas is not practised in a sustainable manner since it is faced by many problems which include lack of recognition from the town planners, shortage of land, poorly implemented policies, and unorganized institutions. The study recommended that town planners recognize the UA sector in Msasa Park, zone land for the sector and introduce institutions that look after the interests of urban farmers in Msasa Park and surrounding areas.