INCLUSIVE CITIES, URBAN HOUSING AND DISABILITY: UNMASKING THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF URBAN HOUSING PROVISION FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITY IN URBAN SETTLEMENTS IN ZIMBABWE

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J Kamuzhanje

Abstract

Any discussion on urban development in general, and urban housing in particular, is hedged against Sustainable
Development Goal 11 “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”. However, the
goal becomes even more poignant when issues of inclusivity and disability are considered. Housing, whether in rural
or urban areas, is a basic right. The world over, governments have institutionalised and constitutionalised housing as
a basic and human right. According to Habitat for Humanity, its vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to
live. The reality, however, is that housing provision is a major challenge. The growing waiting lists, the sprouting illegal
settlements, the increasing number of housing estates which are on unserviced land, points to a social, economic and
health ticking bomb. The issues of urban housing become even more complicated and sophisticated when issues
of disability come into play. The mantra behind inclusive cities focuses on the “right to the city” for all. Whilst this is a
noble idea, it is also apparent that the concept is not absolute. This is because the city, and housing provision, is still
not designed for people with disability. The services that the city provides, including housing, do not take into account
the challenges that people with disability face in accessing them. The paper focuses on the political economy of
urban housing in Zimbabwe, with particular attention paid to people living with disability. The main argument proffered
is that urban development and urban design must accommodate the housing needs of people living with disability.
This is the only way that the city can become “inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”.

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