Davison Muchadenyika discusses his new book on urban transformations in Zimbabwe.
Who is Davison Muchadenyika?
I am from Zimbabwe, Buhera district, located some 300 kilometres from Harare. As a DAAD scholar, I studied Master of Arts Development Management at the IEE, Ruhr University of Bochum. Thereafter, I worked briefly and proceeded to do my PhD. Currently, I live in Washington DC where I work as an Urban Specialist at the World Bank Group.
Could you please give us a brief overview of your new book?
This book tells the stories of ordinary people’s struggles to remake urban centres. It interrogates and highlights the principle conditions in which urban transformation takes place. The main catalysts of the transformation are social movements and planning institutions. Social movements pool resources and skills, acquire land, install infrastructure and build houses. Planning institutions change policies, regulations and traditions to embrace and support a new form of urban development driven by grassroots movements.
What are the most fascinating findings discussed in the book, that you would like to draw attention to?
Through organized collective action, the urban poor are vital agents in providing new housing and infrastructure services. Thus, the urban poor should not be merely seen as beneficiaries. Rather, they play vital roles in urban development through financing planning services and installation of key urban infrastructure. Cognizant of this, planning institutions often respond by adopting grassroots-centered, urban-planning approaches.
Are there any links between the book and your PhD studies at the University of the Western Cape?
Yes, the book is a synthesized version of my PhD. Also, the book draws on material I gathered during my PhD field research.
What is the main inspiration behind this book?
The book is inspired by the actions of the urban poor who are in constant struggles for better housing and access to infrastructure services.
The book is about urban transformation in Zimbabwe? How would you say the findings relate to or inform urban planning in other African cities?
The book illustrates how actions and power of ordinary people contribute to the transformation of African cities.
Click here to access and order Davison’s book.