Energy-dependent urban densification towards a new strategic development model in Sub-Saharan Africa



Rapid urbanization, Urban densification, Sustainable urban development, Urban model, Sub-Saharan Africa




Sub-Saharan Africa’s rapid urbanisation must be understood as integrated into a peculiar culture and serving the needs of a rapidly developing society. Against a rigid and partially outdated urban planning framework, new policy-driven urban development is necessary to achieve sustainable city growth and deal with contextualised factors.

For this purpose, this study looks at the urban setting of Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. It demonstrates that renewable technologies may be used as a tool towards a net zero strategic territorial development, with ongoing horizontal growth finally able to be the cradle for an energy transition towards a different urban development model.

The research proposes a theoretical framework setting on-site energy production as a constraint for urban densification; by capping maximum energy consumption in a building within the maximum amount of energy produced on-site, the morphological dimensions could be controlled: (1) dwellers’ density, (2) site coverage, (3) floor area ratio, and (4) number of storeys.

This approach would address urban and energy challenges by controlling horizontal and vertical expansion through clean energy generation. Subsequently, such an energy-driven urban transition would limit the exposure to the risks deriving from rapid urbanisation and climate change, paving the way to a regulated, strategic, and sustainable territorial development model.

This research aims to set up a method of easy implementation for energy-self-sufficient urban areas, guiding the region towards sustainable development. It will be of interest to researchers, policymakers and institutions, and NGOs working for sustainable urban development in Sub-Saharan Africa.


Chigudu, A. (2021) 'The changing institutional and legislative planning framework of Zambia and Zimbabwe: Nuances for Urban development,' Land Use Policy, 100, p. 104941.