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The Land Usage Around Zimbabwe’s State House Is A Bit Odd…

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Every day I drive past Zimbabwe House, Zimbabwe’s official residence, on my way to work nearby. I don’t know why, but I’ve always thought the land usage around it was odd.

Here’s what you’ll find.

  • Saint George’s College, a prestigious Jesuit school,
  • a golf course,
  • Harare Sports Club featuring cricket pitch,
  • The Harare Botanical gardens,
  • ZRP (national police) offices and training academy, complete with a prison
  • Government offices, which are focused on environmental and agricultural things, and
  • Avenues, a dense, mixed-use neighborhood which is also a red light district.

I don’t know why I find it so strange. I guess it’s just how something so serious like the president’s house is next to so many people as well as how accessible the surroundings are. Sure, 7th street that runs next to the presidents house is closed from 6pm to 6am, but the road behind never closes. Just as an aside, I work nearby and the area rarely has power or water cuts.

I’m okay with this set up, although there are some improvements which would be nice:

  • remove the golf course and make a lot more mixed use development,
  • designate two lanes1 for “public transport” like busses, combis and mishikashika (pirate taxis),
  • widen the bike paths and sidewalks along 7th,
  • encourage Avenues to be taller. Heck Harare as a whole needs to be taller, but people in avenues are less likely to complain, and
  • aggressively implement traffic calming within Avenues, complete with space for vendors.

I won’t lie, Avenues has a lot of potential. Anyways, what’s the land usage like for your country’s official residence?


  1. This is a compromise. My actual position is to dig up the road from Nelson Mandela through to Domboshava and place a cut and cover metro line and regional rail service. It would probably not happen and it’s probably a bad idea, but a man can dream. ↩︎