2020 Vision Statement

Our View of the Future

“We envision that in 2020 Kitwe will be…”

• a compact, medium-sized city (population range: 900,500 to 1,263,500) nestled in a beautiful natural setting;
• the historic, civic, cultural and commercial heart of Copperbelt province;
• an economically strong and well-integrated city, fostering local businesses, regional cooperation and clean industry;
• a university town, a regional medical center, a riverfront city;
• an environmentally-aware community with distinctive open space and natural features, protected habitats, parks and outdoor recreation;
• rich in the arts and recreational opportunities, celebrating the talents and culture of the people who live here;
• a community that values and supports quality education throughout the age continuum;
• known for its comprehensive health and human services, and for its services for the elderly and disabled;
• a hub in a regional transportation system that connects NorthWestern Province and Central Province and provides a link to the north-south high-speed rail system;
• a highly livable city which employs local benchmarks to measure its progress in areas such as housing, economic vitality, educational quality, environmental quality, and overall quality of life;
• blessed with an involved citizenry that actively participates in public policy and decision making;
• committed in its support for children and families;
• a community that honors diversity and is free of prejudice, bigotry and hate;
• home… a good place for all kinds of people to live and to lead healthy, happy, productive lives.

Central Business District (CBD)

“Kitwe in 2020 boasts a Central Business District that is the vibrant commercial, civic, cultural and historic heart of the city”.

Downtown Kitwe is the primary shopping area, community gathering place, and governmental hub. People live, work, shop and play downtown, making it a lively and inviting place. A continued public safety commitment makes downtown a safe place at any time of day or night. Central Business District extends from Central Street South, to Freedom Park Road and from 1st Street in Nkana West to 20th Street in Nkana East.

Commercial Center

A stable business core in the downtown offers a wide selection of quality goods and services. The business complement includes retail and specialty stores, restaurants and services. The downtown is pedestrian and bicycle friendly, with easy access to mass transit. Shoppers can also find plenty of free parking (including a parking structure) and such attractive amenities as paved and covered walkways at street level and above. Historic buildings have been preserved, while less distinctive structures have been replaced or remodeled in keeping with Central Business District’s character. Professional offices are also located on the upper floors of many buildings.

Residential Center

Downtown Kitwe offers attractive residential options for many residents. Those living downtown are drawn to the convenience, variety of housing options, and safety afforded them. In addition to the historic residences in the central city, the upper floors of many buildings house residential units, including affordable housing for the elderly, disabled, and low and moderate income citizens.

The Kafue Riverfront

Kitwe’ vibrant Kafue riverfront is the city’s downtown showcase that respects and celebrates the river. The riverfront features a variety of restaurants and shops, a public square, and ample greenspace with jogging and cycling paths. The public square is a frequent site for lunchtime concerts and summer entertainment. The upper stories of many picturesque riverfront buildings provide some of the downtown’s most desirable residences and office space.

Civic Center

City council, government and regional government offices are clustered downtown. A new parking structure serves patrons and staff of the government hub, as well as the Central Park area encompassing the Arts Center and Library. Ample parking is available for after-hours use by those attending concerts, visiting restaurants, shops or the Library.

Cultural Center

Downtown is also the city’s cultural heart, drawing from the close proximity of Central Park, the Kitwe Arts Center, Library, and gateway to the Copperbelt University (CBU) campus. This is the site of numerous concerts, festivals, and other events. The central city is tied to the larger community by numerous linkages, such as the fully-developed plan for Independence Avenue which connects the central city to the CBU campus. These linkages provide opportunities for citizens to walk, bicycle and ride the bus to the downtown. Outdoor art is prevalent throughout the downtown, and adds a rich dimension to the Central City. The downtown supports a thriving local theater and music scene.

Cultural Enrichment and Recreational Opportunities

“Kitwe in 2020 enjoys a cultural life which is rich in the arts and recreational opportunities, and celebrates the diverse talents and cultures of our community”.

Kitwe has diverse, vibrant, locally-supported arts with many venues. Arts education (theater, music, visual arts, dance, writing, etc.) is available for all and are an important part of our schools and adult education programs. Athletic and recreational facilities dispersed throughout the city serve the needs of youths and adults in a variety of endeavors.

Activities and Events

Kitwe has a wide variety of cultural and recreational activities, events and festivals. These arts events are important community celebrations of the creative spirit and make the city an attractive place for students, employers, residents and visitors. Streets are occasionally closed for dances and events. Recreational opportunities have expanded for family/neighborhood play, teens, organized sports and young singles. After school, summer and evening activities have especially been expanded for teens and singles.

Active volunteerism is at the core of many activities and events. Residents of all ages participate in creating and planning a range of events to suit many interests. Wherever possible, cultural, recreational and arts-related organizations collaborate on events and activities to optimize the use of time, money and volunteers. Community programs help identify and train effective volunteer leaders.

Cultural and Recreational Variety

Kitwe is rich in areas for artists and their audiences. Indoor facilities include the expanded central library complex, historic and fine art museums, the Majestic Theater performing arts center, numerous cafes, restaurants, shops, and work places. Outdoor theater, concerts and dance performances take place at Freedom Park, the Kafue Riverfront and other city parks.

Indoor and outdoor public spaces and private businesses are graced by works of art. Sculptures, paintings, murals, fountains, tapestries and other art add to the beauty of our city.

Recreational facilities provide cover during the hot summer months. Sports fields accommodate the growing demand for activities such as football, basketball and softball. City parks are safe and designed to allow universal access. Parks have adequate restrooms, benches, play equipment, bicycle and nature trails. Kitwe has added a Teen Center and an indoor park for young children in addition to the Boys and Girls Club.

Celebrating Diversity

Kitwe is free of any and all behavior that creates and/or supports prejudice, bigotry and hate. Enriched by CBU’s foreign student population and international exchange programs, Kitwe has become a community of many cultures. Ethnic celebrations, cultural exchanges, festivals and other events teach us about each other and help make us an involved and concerned part of the international human community. Residents can access a variety of different media, both print and broadcast, whose content and programming offer a rich exchange of information and ideas.

Economic Vitality

“Kitwe in 2020 is home to a vibrant economy that is anchored by key strategic industries and complemented by a wealth of diverse, environmentally-friendly businesses”.
• Broad base of employment in a diverse number of fields, with a predominance of small, locally-owned businesses;
• Family wage jobs linked in large part to education, technology, health care, professional services and research;
• Active and convenient regional transportation system which makes it easy to walk, cycle or ride mass transit;
• Business and community collaboration to maintain and improve the city’s air and water quality.

Diverse Economic Base

Kitwe enjoys a stable economy by maintaining an ample, sustainable base of family wage jobs. Jobs are available for workers of all skills levels. Established businesses in the community have expanded, diversified, and given rise to new firms and products. The downtown Kafue riverfront development and continued flourishing high tech and health care industries have resulted in new service-related businesses as well as restaurants and shops. These businesses cater to year-round Kitwe residents as well as college and university students and visitors.

Businesses collaborate with the area’s schools, colleges and universities to ensure that employers can recruit and retain a qualified work force. High school students also benefit from a regional skills center which provides hands-on training in high tech and specialty fields (such as computer programming and culinary arts) that would not be economically feasible to offer at every educational site.

Kitwe is home to a variety of small, locally-owned businesses. Because they live in the community, business owners are actively involved in local policy and decision making. They are also committed to supporting a family friendly work place.

The local economy is enriched by a healthy visitors’ industry which is focused on conventions, meetings and educational, recreational and sporting events. There are increased lodging and meeting facilities located in strategic locations.

Link to Higher Education, High Tech and Health Care

Kitwe in 2020 continues to build upon its historic links to higher education, the mining and high-tech industry and health care. Copperbelt University, Copperstone University College, and other institutions help maintain Kitwe’ position as a prominent center for research and education. The new products and techniques emerging from these institutions have generated new businesses to bring these ideas to the market. This is true particularly in areas such as engineering, computer science, agriculture and forestry.

The regional medical center based in Kitwe provides specialized health services to people from throughout the region. It also serves as a major employer and as a teaching and clinical research site for the area’s colleges and universities.

Regional Transportation System

Public and private sector collaboration has resulted in a regional transportation system which makes it easy for employees to walk, cycle or ride mass transit to work. The regional system also links with the north-south high-speed rail system for those traveling to Ndola, Chingola, or Solwezi. Public and private incentives exist which encourage employees to use mass transit. This, in turn, has reduced the reliance on the automobile as well as eased traffic congestion and air pollution. Congestion, particularly through the downtown, was also eased with the extension of the north-south bypass.

In addition, the Kitwe Regional Airport offers service with daily flights to points in Lusaka, Livingstone, Solwezi and beyond. A base for air freight services, particularly in conjunction with the airport’s industrial park, serves as a relief airport for Copperbelt and Northwestern provinces and provides hangar space and support services for locally-based corporate planes.

Environmentally-Sound Industries

Businesses share the city’s commitment to environmentally sound practices, and collaborate with community members to maintain and improve the city’s air and water quality. This is done not only with attention to the businesses’ own impact on the environment, but by encouraging employee use of alternative modes of transportation to and from work. Businesses are sensitive to their use of natural resources to produce quality goods, and are responsible stewards of those resources. Ongoing and open dialogue exists between business leaders and other community members concerning environmental issues and questions.

Education/Human Services

“Kitwe in 2020 offers high quality educational opportunities and a comprehensive network of health and human services available to all residents throughout their lifetime”.

Kitwe shows its commitment to education and human services in three important ways:

• Highly-regarded, well-funded schools, colleges and universities as well as an abundance of life long learning opportunities are achieved through an innovative blend of public and private funding;
• Led by a regional medical center and high quality providers, comprehensive health and human services are easily accessible and available to all residents;
• The public and private sectors collaborate in a network of services to strengthen children and families.

High Quality Schools and Lifelong Learning

Kitwe is a community known for providing quality education at all levels. This is measured through optimum student enrollment, demonstrated excellence in student learning, and stable funding. Our educational institutions and the business community work together to provide meaningful educational opportunities through internships and other programs which also help create a trained and knowledgeable work force. This commitment, in turn, attracts individuals and families to the community and helps ensure a qualified workforce that can meet employers’ needs.

Access to Health/Human Services

Led by a regional medical center, high quality health providers and a network of human service organizations, comprehensive health and human services are easily accessible and available to all residents. This is accomplished through extensive community outreach efforts which link public and private organizations in a variety of innovation partnerships. All residents have access to affordable health services available throughout the city in a variety of different settings, both traditional and non-traditional.

A continuum of other social services provides a strong “safety net” for area residents. Non-profit agencies work closely with the public and private sectors to fill any gaps in service delivery. Residents are aware of the services available and know how to access them. A convenient, regional transportation system helps connect individuals with the services they need. For those who can’t access mass transit, an expanded para-transit program provides personal transportation services.

As its population has aged, Kitwe has provided housing, programs and resources to keep pace with the needs of older citizens as well as those with disabilities. Support services ranging from housekeeping and personal care to home health care allow many disabled or frail elderly to remain in their own homes. Public and private groups cooperate to keep these services affordable and accessible. Respite care is easily available to assist individuals who care for their aging or disabled loved ones. The Kitwe Senior Center is a vital partner in the community, with a range of outreach services in addition to those offered at its primary location.

Kitwe reaches out to those with developmental, emotional and physical disabilities, helping them find housing and jobs, and integrating them into community life. Public, private and non-profit housing and income assistance programs help lower-income people find homes they can afford. Those without shelter are offered interim housing and linked with employment, food, medical and counseling services that help them get back on their feet. A coordinated network of resources, including long-and short-term shelter and counseling, assists victims of domestic or sexual violence.

Strengthening Children and Families

Working in collaboration with local, provincial and government organizations, Kitwe residents are committed to strengthening children and families. These efforts begin at birth and continue throughout the age continuum to provide help to strengthen families and connect them with community resources.

The community offers quality affordable child care options including family-based care with government-licensed providers and professionally-run child care centers. Kitwe employers take advantage of opportunities to help employees balance work and family; such as tax incentives, flex benefit plans, flex time and other family friendly policies.

A network of non-profit agencies, public and private sector organizations and volunteers helps ensure that every child begins school ready to learn. Local schools serve as neighborhood centers and offer a variety of after-school child care sports and recreation programs, enrichment programs and other adult-supervised activities.

For older youths, activities such as; the Boys and Girls Club, teen employment program, outdoor sports and recreation programs, school enrichment programs and an under-21 dance club provide a variety of adult-supervised activity options.

Governing and Civic Involvement

“Kitwe in 2020 fosters citizen participation in all aspects of community decisions. Neighborhood organizations are vigorous and their meetings and ward meetings provide opportunities for formal and informal discussions of community issues. Most citizens vote and regularly discuss issues with their neighbors, city councilors, and the mayor. Citizens are confident that their elected representatives will carefully consider their ideas and opinions.”


The city council and mayor are elected in contested races after a thorough discussion of their positions and plans. Through numerous meetings, community publications, and active media coverage, voters can gain a fair and complete picture of each candidate’s views. Expenditures on campaigns are typically small, inviting citizens of all income levels to seek elective office.

Listening to the Citizens

There are numerous ways for citizens to participate in each community decision, ranging from expressing an opinion to crafting legislation. Boards, commissions, and task forces are the primary working groups that evaluate, draft, and recommend plans and legislation to the city council. Each board and commission is balanced in terms of the members’ ages, economic status, gender, race, philosophical concerns and professional experience. The boards and commissions are effective and objective forums for discussing issues.

Public meetings typically include at least one opportunity for visitors’ propositions and, when practical, citizens are involved in the deliberative process. A broadly-based Committee for Citizen Involvement informs and assists citizens on how to become involved and how to be most effective at participating in community land use decisions.

A wide range of methods is used to gather citizens’ ideas. Examples include mail and telephone surveys, neighborhood meetings, ward meetings, passive and interactive electronic communication, “comment corners” throughout the community, public hearings, and, in some cases, city council initiated advisory referendum.

Making Decisions

Balancing efficiency and citizen participation in government is challenging. Kitwe has a highly participatory government that when necessary, accepts higher costs and extended time periods for making decisions in order to maximize citizen involvement. The city council makes decisions only after a thorough review by the community. Citizens help decide what ought to be done, as well as how and when it will be done. They work proactively, directly, and positively to find common ground among their interests and those of other people in the community. In land use planning, citizens and government attempt to balance the rights and responsibilities of individual property owners with the interests and needs of the community.

Regional Governmental Cooperation

City and provincial governments and school boards coordinate and seek joint provision of all major services and procurement for major capital equipment and facilities. Councilors, commissioners, and board members regularly form small work groups to join with citizens and address community issues. The city collaborates with other local governments in a process to create and regularly update the benchmarks for common community concerns.

Governmental jurisdictions and agencies including nonprofits, work closely and encourage the provision of social services through the agencies that are most intensely concerned with and capable of meeting those needs. Nonprofits often consolidate their efforts and their organizations to minimize administrative expenses and focus resources and community concern.

Supporting Government

City government is financed through user fees, special levies, donations, and property taxes that are progressive. Property taxes are constantly refined to make them more progressive.

Protecting Our Environment

“Kitwe in 2020 has successfully integrated its economic and population growth with the preservation of its scenic natural environment, open spaces, clean air and water, wildlife habitat areas, and recreational opportunities”.

We value the beauty of our surroundings: the hills, valleys, forests, streams, rivers, and clean air. We value living in a city that is in harmony with these natural beauties, and seek to build for the future with this in mind. Kitwe recognizes the connection between development patterns and impacts on the environment. More efficient land-use through higher densities and compact development reduces the amount of land required for development and the negative impacts of an extended infrastructure. Careful design ensures that development minimizes impacts on plant communities, wildlife habitat, and scenic areas, as well as enhances the sense of place and community character. In order to protect the environment, our growth rate has not exceeded necessary infrastructure.

Protecting Against Pollution

Pollution obeys no human boundaries. Recognizing that, the city coordinates its air and water quality efforts with other communities, surrounding towns, and resource management agencies in the Copperbelt province. This cooperative strategy has created a cleaner, healthier environment by stimulating improved farming and forestry techniques for preserving stream quality, reducing mining and fossil fuel emissions, and significantly reducing the amount and toxicity of emissions.

Air pollution has been lessened, thanks to changing attitudes and actions by residents, strict environmental regulations, an increased emphasis on non-polluting forms of heating and transportation, conservation and technological advances. The number of daily auto trips and the length of those trips has been significantly reduced by: close coordination of land use and transportation decisions creating a careful mix of uses within neighborhoods; designing and building neighborhoods that are safe, easy, and convenient to walk and bicycle in; and building pedestrian connections between neighborhoods.

The para-transit system has been expanded, and public transit works more successfully with increased ridership and more frequent service between compact pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods. The result is cleaner air, quieter neighborhoods, and a healthier populace. Trees have been planted throughout the community to take advantage of their aesthetic qualities, to provide cooling during the summer, and for their ability to help cleanse the air we breathe.

The community’s water supply, along with its streams and creeks, are clean and clear. Water conservation efforts decrease the amount of water city residents consume. Drinking water quality has been improved by convincing upstream industries to stop polluting the Kafue river and its tributaries. Run off from road, construction and other pollution sources is collected and treated, if necessary, before being discharged. We guard our precious aquifer closely, by exercising extreme care in disposing of hazardous wastes, and we closely follow local and government environmental regulations.

Conservation and a vigorous curbside recycling program has greatly reduced the material we transport to local landfills for disposal. Household chemicals and other dangerous materials are collected, treated and safely disposed.

We are also concerned about other influences which, although not as dangerous, can spoil the way our community looks and sounds. In new developments, utility lines are buried underground, resulting in pleasant views and vistas. Kitwe is a community where all pollution types (including noise, visual, air, water, odor and chemical pollution) are carefully monitored and standards are maintained that meet or exceed the highest standards in the valley.

Open Space and Habitat

Our natural features; hillsides, floodplains, streams, wetlands, and other natural areas are protected and treasured. Wildlife habitat areas, scenic areas, and other natural areas help shape development patterns as we grow. Our natural open space helps buffer flood events, purify our air and water, provide recreational and educational opportunities, and reinforce the community’s distinctive character. Kitwe has identified its open space resources, and has established criteria and priorities for open space protection.

Kitwe is encircled by an emerald necklace of parks, scenic vistas, natural habitats, and farm and forest lands that define the city’s boundaries. The CBU Research Forests and the CBU agricultural research lands located within easy walking distance to campus also contribute to the unique character of Kitwe as a land grant college community. Kitwe has established a common open space with Ndola which provides recreational opportunities, wetland protection, and community identity to each city.

We value our rivers, our streams, and our watershed, carefully managing them to protect the purity of our water, their aesthetic and biological qualities, and their value as recreational areas. The city’s streams and wetlands act as the backbone for a system of “green fingers” which weave through and connect the city’s open space resources. These “green fingers” provide trail corridors and habitat areas where native plants and wildlife grow and flourish in their natural state. These “green fingers” widen out at community-scale parks and open space preserves and are easily accessible to neighbourhoods.

Developers and homeowners are encouraged to use natural landscaping which integrates and preserves the existing significant vegetation on home sites and commercial developments in creative and environmentally sound ways. Habitat disturbed during construction is restored and enhanced.

Outdoor Recreation

Our parks are among our most attractive assets. Scattered throughout the community, the parks vary in size, design and function to meet the need of neighboring areas. Parks accommodate a wide range of recreation activities for all ages. This range includes provision of more passive activities such as bird watching all the way to active sports. The park system includes a mix of developed and natural areas. Parks are equipped with barrier-free play equipment, picnic areas, walking and cycling paths, and benches. Parks also serve as outdoor performance spaces.

Our river and hilltop parks are the “crown jewels” of our park system. Acting as community focal points to the south are our riverside parks, providing river access, boating, play areas and natural habitats.

Where People Live

“Kitwe in 2020 offers balanced and diverse neighbourhoods, incorporating mixed-use, that is accessible to residents without driving, which form the building blocks that support a healthy social, economic, and civic life. Neighbourhoods can be defined by the characteristics of neighbourhood identity, pedestrian scale, diversity, and the public realm. These characteristics are protected and enhanced in existing neighbourhoods and are included in the design of new neighbourhoods.”

A City of Neighbourhoods

All development in Kitwe contributes to the creation of complete neighbourhoods. Development standards have been created based on the characteristics of new and modern Kitwe neighbourhoods. These standards insure that development and redevelopment create, protect, and enhance neighbourhood form while facilitating the community-wide needs to improve transportation choices, provide housing for a diverse population within safe attractive neighbourhoods, and maintain resource lands, natural areas, and recreational open spaces.

Neighbourhood Identity

Most neighbourhoods have a clear center or focus and a well-defined edge. The focus may contain shopping, services, and small businesses or a civic facility such as a park, school or satellite post office. Community and civic buildings add identity to the neighbourhood. The boundary or edge of the neighbourhood is defined by topography, open space, or major streets.

Pedestrian Scale

One can easily and safely walk through a neighbourhood within 5-10 minutes. The streets are an interconnecting network with short blocks to disperse traffic and create convenient and direct routes for cyclists and pedestrians. Buildings and trees are close to the street, providing an intimate outdoor room which is comfortable to pedestrians.

Diversity and the Public Realm

New neighbourhoods contain a mix of uses such as homes, shops, workplaces, services, and public spaces. There is a mix of housing types at varying costs to allow a diversity of household types, ages, and incomes. Several older neighbourhoods have incorporated a variety of housing types and small, neighbourhood services.

A strong public realm is created because the streets are designed as important shared public space for pedestrians and other transportation needs. Buildings are oriented to the street to add security and help define the public space. A variety of types and sizes of public parks and open space give form and structure to neighbourhoods.

Planning for Neighbourhoods

Specific Area Plans for these potential neighbourhood sites, showing land-uses, street layout, and open space framework, help to insure that incremental development over time and by various property owners/developers creates the kind of places the community desires.

Through public process, Neighbourhood Refinement Plans have been created for areas in the existing city that have been identified as neighbourhoods. These plans guide any construction of new structures, strategic in-fill, or redevelopment in order to enhance, protect, and reinforce the identity, diversity, pedestrian scale, and the shared public spaces, of these neighbourhoods.

Special Districts

Certain areas of the community of a special nature such as the downtown, CBU, major medical and employment centers, or community-oriented shopping areas are designated as special districts. Districts offer many amenities including identity, pedestrian scale, diversity, and a strong public realm, yet retain their own special identity. These special districts emphasize a more community-wide or regional focus.

Maintaining Livability

Livability is of primary concern for maintaining healthy neighbourhoods. Kitwe residents determine livability by the quality of the schools, the safety and security of citizens and their property, an accessible and reasonably priced health care system, diverse and attractive neighborhoods, environmental cleanliness, sustainability, opportunities for continuing education, a healthy economy that provides choices of goods and services, quality employment opportunities, and visual and physical access to open space. Livability is specifically measured by benchmarks that are regularly updated by the citizens. Kitwe evaluates its livability on a regular basis through surveys and forums.

A high quality of life, and housing opportunities for those who live, work, and study in the community, are all found in Kitwe. Businesses and institutions recognize this and support the community through their taxes, donations and other efforts to maximize their impacts on community livability. They set goals and develop plans for improving the community. (e.g. 80% of CBU students will live on campus).

Who Lives in Kitwe

Kitwe encourages a diverse population and approves growth to the extent that the essential features of compact livability are maintained. Neighbourhoods offer a wide variety of available housing choices and costs. Kitwe strives to maintain housing opportunities and prices similar to other Copperbelt towns of comparable livability. Because of diverse housing opportunities all within safe, attractive neighbourhood settings; convenient shops and services; excellent transportation choices; a clean, quiet environment; easy access to open space and recreation; and a strong sense of community, Kitwe is considered a highly developed city.

Kitwe City Council

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