Exercises for Zanzibar interplay of Cultures Studio 2018
Case: Ng’ambo area, the new city centre in Zanzibar town, Tanzania
The Department of Urban and Rural Planning of Zanzibar has chosen four tasks that they prefer us to work with during this semester: Resilience and flooding, Open and public space, Institutional and public buildings and Affordable housing.
The studies happen in Ng’ambo area (The other side) which is a buffer zone for the Unesco heritage site of Stone Town. This area is to become the new city centre of Zanzibar town according to the master plan. Ng’ambo constitutes of approximately 4000 one family houses and the Michenzani housing blocks from the 70's + a few newer multi-storey buildings.
Ideally we will have 3-4 students working on each task. Please think about your priorities for the 15th of January session. It would be good that we could fix the groups. Each group will then be asked to prepare a 20 minute presentation of the topic in a broader sense for Zanzibar. You will get a more detailed description of the presentation next week.
Additionally there is a reading package uploaded to MyCourses. Most of the literature is for each group, if some is relevant only for some, it will be marked. We ask you to read the literature thoroughly and make notes (min. 2000 words). The notes are for yourself, to bring with you to Zanzibar, but we will also ask you to hand them in on the 22nd of January when you will share your notes with your colleagues and discuss what you have been reading.
Resilience and flooding
In the last three years, Zanzibar has experienced floods in several areas. The reasons are known: heavy rains and poor, uncontrolled urbanisation. Many wet lands and retention areas have been urbanised, even if they should never have been used for construction.
The new planning has to offer a clear picture of the resilience of the city. Zanzibar town is low, close to sea level. There are already at this point, before all effects of global warming are known, areas of the city that have problems during the rainy season.
The group will study the areas with most danger for flooding and propose architectural solutions to make Zanzibar city less vulnerable.
Open and public space
Zanzibar should be a compact, liveable, walkable and inclusive city. How can that be achieved and how will the new city centre reflect that ambition?
Public space is an important part of urban Zanzibar today. As the new town will be densified, the need to have good, safe and inclusive public space will be seen very soon. Today, the future city centre, Ng’ambo, has a vibrant network of diverse public spaces, because of its’ typology. With denser construction and high-rise buildings the morphology of Ng’ambo will be affected. Yet, the target of the government of Zanzibar is to enhance and value the richness and use of public space. The improvement and preservation of public space in the new town centre is of importance for the cultural heritage of the place. Public space represent not only particular urban environmental qualities, but also certain accompanying patterns of social activities and behaviours.
The group will study qualities of public spaces and how people use public space in Zanzibar, using different public life study methods. The students will plan one or several spaces in detail. Later on the public life study and the new plans will be used to develop liveable public space for the future city centre.
institutional and public buildings
The new city centre of Zanzibar town will need a number of institutional and public buildings.
There are existing ones that need up-grading and in addition new public buildings and mixed-use buildings will be needed. The government of Zanzibar has an ambition to make Zanzibar city a vibrant hub of culture for East Africa. The newly signed project of Green Corridor is an example of that ambition.
This group will study the existing situation and the new master plan of the city centre and make a development proposal or a new design of one or several public buildings. The exercise can also include solutions for public- private ownership and different new material options for construction, as there is a lack of sand on the island and concrete constructions will be a challenge in the future.
Zanzibar should be a compact, walkable and inclusive city. How can that ambition be achieved and how will the new city centre reflect that ambition? The new Zanzibar city is forging its identity.
Zanzibar Government is searching for solutions to solve the challenge of housing provision. The prevailing tendency fast urban sprawl with gentrification and gated communities and exclusive neighbourhoods. Yet the aim is to have an inclusive city with mixed neighbourhood and preserved urban cultural heritage.
There is an existing neighbourhood, Ng’ambo, on the area of the future city centre. The group will focus on densification solutions for this area, incorporating the existing inhabitants of the neighbourhood. The design can be a solution for a bigger area or a more detailed housing plan.
There is a big need for new models of finance of mixed use and affordable housing, to find financial solutions is part of the exercise. New materials and methods for construction would be need to be incorporated, as there is a lack of sand on the island and concrete constructions will be a challenge in the future.
How will the future housing solutions keep the vibrancy of a Swahili community within a new envelop of modern materials, comfort and function.
The material here is relevant as a background resource for the exercises. We ask you to go through the literature thoroughly and make notes (min. 2000 words). The notes are for yourself, to bring with you to Zanzibar, but we will also ask you to hand them in on the 22nd of January when you will share your notes with your colleagues and discuss what you have been reading.
The first priority is the Local Area Plan for Ngambo, second Folker's chapter on Ngambo and third the NSDS summary and forth Heritage Mangement, but you can focus on the parts talking about the buffer zone Ng'ambo, more than on what is written on actual Stone Town. For those of you interested in the housing task there are two documents focusing on that field. If you don't have time to read everything, try to at least "eye" through all the material. You can also share readings among each other in pairs for instance and share your notes and discuss the content. It would be important that the readings would be covered within a group.
You are expected to use two full days for the reading during the coming two weeks. The deadline is the 22nd of January when we will use part of the class to go through your notes.