Urban informal manufacturing through the lens of planning law in Zimbabwe: Case of Harare.
Mazongonda, Simbarashe, Show
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This study was motivated by the clarion call by the Zimbabwean government to compile a national informal sector database to ease tax collection. The thesis was designed as a multiple-embedded situational study of Gazaland, Complex and Siyaso home industries in Harare. Harare, being the capital city, attracts large volumes of activity and specific study sites were purposively selected because they are the main home industries in Harare. Secondary data was gathered using document analysis and primary data was gathered using participant observation, vital informer interviews and a self-administered questionnaire entrenched in a mobile geo-application. The questionnaire survey used census blocks, that is, all manufacturers (642) in three sampling windows took part in the survey. One instrumental finding of this thesis is that stakeholders need different data sets for them to make knowledgeable decisions. These include demographic, psychographic, behavioural, spatial and compositional datasets. The identified data needs were merged into the database model. The Application Programming Interface (API) of the prescribed database model provides users with different data privileges classified in this study as view, write, edit and delete privileges. The database model was designed in a scalable form to allow for incorporation of other sites elsewhere and to add variants of informality not taken in the thesis. A total of 44 tests carried out to analyse the association between informal manufacturers psychographics and town planning principles revealed that there is a very weak association between these two variables with a coefficient of resolve of fewer than 2% (𝑟2<0.02). This means that the performance of manufacturers in interpretation of town planning principles is, to a larger extent, explained by some factors other than their knowledge, perception and attitude towards town planning objectives such as order, safety, amenity and health. Also observed and mapped is the reality that manufacturers conglomerate alongside roads and in open spaces within home industries. Some have even permanently made impassable entrance roads for five years plus. Moreover, property owners in home industries subdivide and parcel out land without the permission from the Local Planning Authority (LPA). A common development noted across study sites is that several manufacturers are dotted around boundaries of home industries where they occupy open spaces and backyards of residential properties. It also emerged that specialisation, workmanship, strong social ties, mentorship, and tool and knowledge sharing are several untold elements cementing the informal sector. The study also showed that psychographics (attitude, knowledge and perception) of manufacturers are weak predictors of their behavioural reactions to the anticipated tax measure, but politics of space and societal connections were found as the major determinants. Viewing the study findings through planning law lens brought to light issues concerning the prerequisite to redevelop planning areas since the operative master and local plans have been outpaced by informal activities. The thesis puts forth three major contributions to existing knowledge on urban informality. It compiled comprehensive, spatial and quantitative data about informal manufacturers in Harare, Zimbabwe. Firstly, it is comprehensive because it assembled a wide spectrum of datasets that served as building blocks to the database called for by the Zimbabwean government. Secondly, the spatial statistics approach used enabled ease of analysis of manufacturers with respect to their relative spatial locations. Thirdly, the study quantified psychographic and behavioural attributes described in most accessible studies. The assemblage of comprehensive, spatial and quantitative data about informal manufacturing in Harare makes the study findings credible and easy to replicate with a low variance. The study recommends the scaling up of planning education, transforming operational orderliness into spatial orderliness, redevelopment of affected planning areas, scaling up the proposed database to capture other variants of informality and geographical areas not covered in the thesis and progression of a tax approach that considers concerns of manufacturers.