Acting President, Retired General Dr Constantino Chiwenga says the era of unplanned urban and rural settlements which has resulted in the mushrooming of suburbs that are now an eyesore is now over.

Zimbabwe is experiencing phenomenal growth and expansion of its cities, towns and rural resettlements, thus putting a huge strain on existing infrastructure, the environment and local authority resources.

It is against this background that rural and urban planners are meeting in Harare for two days to try and refocus spatial planning systems in Zimbabwe, through an interface with the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.

Dr Chiwenga officially opened the workshop, emphasizing the critical role of spatial planning in national development through its provision of integrated spatial development frameworks that guide, regulate and promote investment.

“Land is a finite resource and Zimbabwe can nolonger afford to keep growing its urban settlements horizontally,” he said.

The Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Cde July Moyo said the future of Zimbabwe lies in proper rural and urban planning.

Some of the issues being deliberated on at the two day workshop include forward planning, urban settlements, creation of smart cities, urban decay, regeneration, illegal development and urban transport systems, all of which require solutions that need to be applied urgently for vision 2030 to be achieved.