Bulawayo Zimbabwe's second largest city. Image credit southerneye.co.zw

Bulawayo Zimbabwe’s second largest city. Image credit southerneye.co.zw

ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes: Settlements: Zimbabwe’s towns and Cities an Introduction

  • An urban settlement in Zimbabwe is one whose population is more than 2 500 or more with the majority of its workers (more than 50%) engaged in non-agricultural activities.
  • It must have a compact settlement pattern
  • This definition also, by custom, tends to omit Growth Points even when they meet the definition.
  • According to the 2012 census report 33% of the population in Zimbabwe live in urban areas and 47% of the urban population lives in Harare
  • Most, if not all of Zimbabwe’s towns are influenced by their colonial heritage.
  • Each town usually has a core/CBD
  • An industrial zone e.g. Willowvale in Harare
  • high density or low income residential zone e.g. Highfields in Harare
  • middle income residential zone (middle density suburb) e.g Cranborne in Harare
  • low density or high income residential zone e.g. Borrowdale in Harare and
  • sub-urban commercial centers e.g. Sam Levy and Westgate in Harare
  • Other cities have satellite towns around them for example Norton, Chitungwiza and Ruwa around Harare
  • There are very few large urban settlements in Zimbabwe
  • As the number of settlements increases as their size decreases i.e. there are multiple small urban centers.
  • Most urban centers rose out of administrative centers for example Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Bindura and Marondera act as provincial administrative centers
  • Some towns began as mining centers for example Hwange, Zvishavane, Shurugwi, Kwekwe, Bindura, Kadoma and Gwanda.
  • Some grew as service centers. For example some towns act as agricultural service centers for surrounding farmlands e.g. Harare, Gweru, Bulawayo, Mutare ec.
  • A few towns grew as tourist/resort towns for example Victoria Falls, Kariba and Masvingo.

To access more topics go to the O Level Geography Notes page