Housing Cooperatives and the Politics of Local Organization and Representation in Peri-­Urban Harare, Zimbabwe

by Innocent Chirisa, Marilyn Gaza, and Elmond Bandauko


Housing cooperatives have emerged in the context of housing challenges in the urban areas as a strategy for securing low-­‐‑cost housing accommodation in peri‑urban Harare. They constitute vehicles that allow people to pool resources and secure tenure. The paper explains the “politics of peri-­urban housing” in contemporary Zimbabwe by looking into the resurgence of these new forms of housing cooperatives. The paper compares five sites in Harare (Whitecliffe, Hatcliffe, Caledonia, and Southlea Park and Hopley in Harare South) to provide insights into the politics of peri‑urban housing and security of tenure. We argue that political identity, networks, and participation have been at the core of these housing cooperatives as residents sought to secure tenure in the peri-­urban areas by enhancing citizenship rights.

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Innocent Chirisa is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Rural and Urban Planning at the University of Zimbabwe. His areas of research focus have been urban informality, peri-­‐‑urban dynamics, gender and development, place stewardship, housing, urban governance, social protection, and planning advocacy.
Marilyn Gaza is an MPhil Student in the Department of Rural a Urban Planning at the University of Zimbabwe.
Elmond Bandauko is an Honors Graduate in the Department of Rural and Urban Planning at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) in Harare. His research interests have been urban management practice, urban policy, land management, housing, spatial governance, and urban informality.