7 December 2012

Zambia: A Look At Colonial Housing and Urban Development Regulatory Framework

LOOK at Zambia from 1891 to date shows that the country has in just over a century developed from a land whose society was in a state of flux, to a country experiencing rapid urbanisation fraught with numerous development challenges which need to be confronted with vigour.

There is widespread recognition that mankind in general and Zambians in particular are now living in a period of profound technological, social, economic and political change, and that this change process, underlain by globalisation, is accelerating.

There is less certainty about its nature and meaning, whether it should be regulated or liberalised, supported or resisted, and the sort of world it is leading to.

It further shows that either the policies that were being instituted in the past to control this development were inadequate, wrong, or misapplied and, therefore, need to be revisited.

Before our policy makers intervene in these processes, there is need for closer examination to show where we came from and where we are going.

Historically in the management of urban growth and housing development, the village management rules were the first regulatory frameworks to govern housing and urban development in a series of rules that were formulated by boards.

These were drafted under the Village Management Proclamation Act of 1900, and were administered by management boards appointed by the chartered company administrator.

The first was set up at Livingstone, the territorial capital in 1911, followed by Lusaka in 1913 and Kabwe in 1915.

As towns grew, the boards and ordinances also changed from village, to town and later Municipal corporation ordinances.

It was only in 1929 that the Townships Ordinance established administrative systems for small urban settlements, which had elected councils although the franchise only extended to owners of property, leaving out Africans and poor whites.

The 1929 Town Planning Ordinance was the first town planning legislation to be enacted. This legislation together with the 1930 ordinance influenced by the British Town Planning legislation, and guided by crown control and the utopian ideology, were developed to address inadequacies in housing quality and standards, respectively.

They were primarily concerned with the health and welfare of Europeans and did not apply to Africans.

These stringent British-type ordinances.

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