Journal of
Geography and Regional Planning

  • Abbreviation: J. Geogr. Reg. Plann.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2070-1845
  • DOI: 10.5897/JGRP
  • Start Year: 2008
  • Published Articles: 391

Full Length Research Paper

Evolution of Harare as Zimbabwe’s Capital City and a major Central Place in Southern Africa in the context of by Byland’s model of settlement evolution

Tongayi Muronda
MA Final, Center for the Study of Regional Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University New Delhi-67, India
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 14 April 2008
  •  Published: 30 April 2008



Settlement evolution of most global cities follows certain settlement patterns and by land’s Model is one model that explains the general evolution of such settlements. Harare is no exception in this general pattern of settlement evolution, yet to a greater extent by land’s Model is rather too simplistic to fully account for the evolution of this city. It should be noted that as a Model, it lacks universality and the historical attributes of Zimbabwe characterized by a prolonged colonial era between 1890 and 1980 creates a certain uniqueness which forces a need for manipulation of by land’s model. Although by land’s model is descriptive, it can be equated to several other models and theories of city evolution, urbanization and urban growth. Fourastie’s Schema is a basic socio-economic model which explains evolution of settlement structures of city regions from the Pre-industrial to Post-industrial period (Jacobson et al., 1998). There is a marked increase in literature concerning urbanization, urban and city studies in recent times and this is due to the urgent need by Planners and Public Administrators to maintain a balance between economic development and modernization on one hand and the reduction of the social and environmental ill effects of rapid modernization on the other, more so in developing nations. (Ibid). By land’s model spans over an extensive historical time scale and there is no doubt that stages 4 and 5 which respectively represent the industrial and post-industrial periods are major global concerns in the modern times. A universal theory that explains city dynamics and integrates historical, economic, social, demographic and spatial aspects is absent. In fact, the technical limitation of systematized urban studies at macro-level lay mainly in the heterogeneity and diversity of micro or macro regions in as far as these components are concerned. In view of these aspects, By land’s model is tested on Harare and shows relevance in its much later stages. His model is ample testimony to the fact that unanimous classification of world cities is impossible.


Key words: Settlement evolution, settlement patterns, settlement expansion, slums, Byland’s model.