Analysing the Sustainability Challenges of Informal Urban Settlements: The Case of Chibolya in Lusaka Zambia

  •  Jonathan Simbeya Mwamba    


Presently, informal settlements exist as part of the urban fabric and a major constituent of the residential geographies of most Cities in Sub-Saharan Africa. The growth of informal settlements in cities of the global south has been widely discussed in existing literature as a critical concern. Urban development literature in Zambia in particular has focused on the rapid urbanization and poverty growth, but barely explains how this affects settlement sustainability. Studies have focused on measures put in place by government and supporting organisations to help find solutions to the problem. But this has been done without providing specifics as relates to interventions for settlement sustainability and user perceptions of their living environments. The article provides a conceptual analysis of the local dynamics influencing informal settlement development and sustainability. The historical perspective and modern day realities of informal urban settlement settings in Lusaka in Zambia are also reviewed. The case study findings indicate a need to refocus development interventions in informal settlements by considering informal dwellers concerns and requirements when formulating settlements development strategies. The article offers an insight into sustainability challenges that the settlement population faces despite a variety of development interventions by the State and private agencies. The article shows the potential success and sustainability of interventions when informal settlement residents are empowered and take responsibility of their own development agenda. The paper points out the need for collaborative approach to informal settlement improvement where all stakeholders including the local residents, participate in all stages of settlement development.

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