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Fält, Jenny and Rådberg, Louise, 2016. A place to embrace : a design proposal for Mkamasini, a public space in Old Ng’ambo, Zanzibar. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Urban and Rural Development



For the first time in history more than half of the world’s population lives in towns or cities. Developing countries are facing the highest urban growth without having capacity to provide shelter for urban dwellers. As a result, large-scaled areas with informal settlements have emerged.

Zanzibar, an autonomous part of Tanzania, has been experiencing increasing problems associated
with informal settlements. The population density is high within these neighbourhoods and the private space is restricted. Therefore public open spaces are an important asset in informal settlements. They have the significance of being a living room for everyday life, where domestic work as well as social meetings take place. On Unguja, the main island of Zanzibar, the informal settlements are concentrated in Old Ng’ambo and Ng’ambo. Here, the haphazard streetscape consists of irregularly placed low-rise buildings and a cluster of paths and alleyways. Larger open public spaces are rare in this context and existing spaces are threatened by house owners expanding their properties.

During a ten week field study, sponsored by a SIDA scholarship, the public space of Mkamasini in Old Ng’ambo was explored. The research was conducted in order to develop a design proposal for Mkamasini. The design will benefit the surrounding area and should be well anchored in its context. A proper plan of the space will ensure its future existence.

Mkamasini is a sun-exposed open space, defined by irregularly built surrounding residential houses. The vegetation is concentrated in the border zones and the space is scattered with trash and piles of building materials. Primarily Mkamasi is used as a passage although the space has potential to comprise functions and activities to a greater extent.

The design proposal intends to strengthen and improve the present qualities of Mkamasini as well as upgrading its weaknesses. This is achieved by focusing on seven design guidelines, which was the result of the site study, dialogues and literature studies.

Our ambition is to present a design proposal that is realistic and able to implement in the context of Zanzibar. Therefore the design is adapted to limitations such as low maintenance, local materials and conventional construction traditions.

In a wider context, this project can serve as an inspiration of how to design public spaces on Zanzibar as well developing countries in general.

Main title:A place to embrace
Subtitle:a design proposal for Mkamasini, a public space in Old Ng’ambo, Zanzibar
Authors:Fält, Jenny and Rådberg, Louise
Supervisor:Paget, Susan
Examiner:Johansson, Rolf and Ignatieva, Maria
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2016
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:NY004 Landscape Architecture Programme, Ultuna 300 HEC
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Keywords:public space, informal settlements in Zanzibar, open space, urban space, Mkamasini design proposal, Minor Field Study
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Landscape architecture
Deposited On:13 Sep 2016 08:50
Metadata Last Modified:13 Sep 2016 08:50

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