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As part of our series on Bulawayo #CityOnTheRise, we at Mukamba, have been drawing together articles, research, interviews and stories from the 2nd city in Zimbabwe. If you enjoy this article or are inspired, please contact us.

Bulawayo #CityOnTheRise: Article 2 of 8

In today’s rapidly urbanizing world, sustainability is not a luxury, but a necessary path to our future. Increasingly, cities around the globe are realizing this and turning to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a roadmap to ensure a future that’s not only economically vibrant, but also socially equitable and environmentally resilient. One such city leading the way is Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Despite Zimbabwe’s prevailing development challenges, the city of Bulawayo stands as a beacon of hope, modelling a strategic vision that aligns perfectly with the SDGs. 

So, how exactly is Bulawayo paving the path towards sustainable urban development? This transformation is largely being driven by its determined decision to localize the SDGs into its urban planning process, a process that we will delve deeper into throughout this article. 

SDG Localization involves adapting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to the specific circumstances, needs, and priorities of local communities, cities, and regions. This process is crucial as sustainable development challenges and opportunities vary from place to place. It allows for locally-designed development initiatives while contributing to the global objectives of the 2030 Agenda (United Nations, 2018).

How Bulawayo is Implementing Urban Sustainability in Zimbabwe?

Under the Bulawayo City Masterplan (2019-2034), the city seems to be incorporating the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to create a plan that promotes and accelerates sustainable urban development. For instance, one objective is to establish an efficient transportation system that meets the needs of the population throughout the plan’s duration (Bulawayo City Council, 2022). A significant project aligned with this objective is the redevelopment of Egodini Taxi Rank, which aims to accommodate over 1,000 public transport vehicles and transform the urban transport landscape (Moyo-Ndlovu and Phiri, 2024).

Known locally as Basch Street Terminus, the Egodini Taxi Rank redevelopment project is a strategic step towards achieving SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities. This revitalization is designed to counter urban congestion issues and enhance public transportation mobility. The redesigned taxi rank even has dedicated spaces for informal traders, demonstrating the city’s commitment to inclusive, accessible and sustainable urbanization. 

Other areas where Bulawayo is making noteworthy strides are affordable housing, renewable energy infrastructure, and comprehensive waste and water management. One of the ways the city has been doing this is through the development of housing projects that are designed to be affordable for both low and middle-income residents. An example of this is the Luveve housing project, which was launched by the Bulawayo City Council. This project aims to provide affordable housing to thousands of residents, with a focus on those who are most in need. The houses are being built with cost-effective, locally sourced materials, which helps to keep the prices affordable.

In addition to the Luveve project, the city has also been working on the Cowdray Park Hlalani Kuhle project. This project is a large-scale housing development that aims to provide homes to over 20,000 people. The city has been working closely with private developers and non-governmental organizations to ensure the project is both affordable and sustainable. All this is excluding the private actors who have also been providing low to middle income housing solutions in the city.

In a clear illustration of SDG 11 – make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, the city has undertaken several improvement projects in the housing sector. Pilot housing schemes, such as the Cowdray Park Hlalani Kuhle/Garikai, echo the call for inclusivity and demonstrate innovative approaches to affordable housing. Implemented in partnership with local stakeholders, this initiative has provided decent, low-cost housing to low-income families.

References:

UN. (2018). Roadmap for localizing the SDGs: Implementation and monitoring at subnational level. United Nations. Available at: 1https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/commitments/818_11195_commitment_ROADMAP%20LOCALIZING%20SDGS.pdf. Accessed 13/3/2024.

2Moyo-Ndlovu, T and Phiri, A, 2024. Egodhini finally opens. Available at: https://www.chronicle.co.zw/watch-egodini-finally-re-opens/. Accessed: 23/3/24

3Bulawayo City Council. 2022. Masterplan Review’. Available at: http://citybyo.co.zw/News/MasterPlanReview. Accessed 14/3/2024.

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