The impacts of converting residential properties to commercial properties on livability in Lusaka: a case study of Northmead residential area, Lusaka.

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Mutale, Frederick
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The University of Zambia
The aim of the study is to examine the impacts of converting residential properties to commercial properties on livability in Northmead residential area of Lusaka. Conversion processes are lacking Development control which is timely and coordinated in Northmead. For example, most approvals are done after the development has started. Using a case study approach, a sample of 120 respondents from Northmead was conveniently selected and surveyed using questionnaires. Key informants from government institutions were purposively identified and surveyed using interview guides. Secondary data from relevant plans, policy documents and legislation was also reviewed. The findings reveal that the residential conversion has been increasing steadily since 2009. The year 2016 recorded the highest percentage of 4.7 percentage increase in residential area conversion and the least year is 2009 with the 2.0 percent. The rate at which conversion of residential properties are being converted in Northmead is on the average of 5 houses per year. The southern boundary of Northmead particularly along Great East road has been experiencing more conversion than any other area. The study identified factors leading to conversion of residential properties in the Northmead includes: characteristics of the neighborhoods; the accessibility; the area offers renting or business factors; government policy which are very flexible in local government on space planning design; the desire to improve economic opportunities in light of growing uncertainty; the mismatch between demand and supply for retail spaces; infrastructural development and redevelopment; interest in expanding population and entrepreneurial activities; proximity to town gentrified residential communities; urban sprawl responsible for conversion of residential properties to commercial. The findings also revealed effects of converting residential to commercial properties on liveability in Northmead includes the reduction in formal residential stock, high rental prices, physical development challenges, developmental control challenges and abuse of land, poor quality of parks and gardens 44.2 percent, improved waste management 55 percent, excellent availability of water 50.83 percent, reduction in crime 64.17 percent, high congestion 50 percent. Poor safety equipment 49 percent, average education 59.17 percent poor backyard garden 46.67 percent, average road access 56.67 percent, improved public transport 63.33 percent, average telecommunications-network 45 percent, average reliability of utilities such as water, electricity 50.83 percent, reduction of sporting facilities 59.17percent, variety of shops 73.33 percent, The study also reveals that there is no strong legal framework or monitoring to check conversion of existing land use structure in the area. The research concludes that the Ministry of local government and Lusaka city council should adopt regular monitoring land use changes in the area, designation and reservation of certain areas within Northmead for residential only, control the type of the business in the residential area, government should upgrade the police stations nearby because the existing one is small and bring up story buildings. Key Words: Conversion; Livability; Northmead; Sustainable Urban Renewal; Infrastructure planning;
Masters thesis degree in Spatial Planning at the University of Zambia
Residential and commercial properties. , Infrastructure planning.