Magazine article UN Chronicle

From 'Planning the City' to a 'City That Plans': The Experience of Dar Es Salaam

Magazine article UN Chronicle

From 'Planning the City' to a 'City That Plans': The Experience of Dar Es Salaam

Article excerpt

City planners are realizing more and more that urban development can only be sustained by involving all stakeholders. Residents generally know first which areas need upgrading, private investors frequently know better where and when to invest, community groups often are perfectly capable of managing their own environments, and utility agencies usually develop capacities according to market demands. Since 1992, the Sustainable Dar es Salaam Program (SDP) has been developing such a participatory approach to planning and management of urban growth, and has initiated a number of innovative practices, most notably:

* employing the environmental planning and management (EPM) process as a bottom-up approach to identify priority environmental issues;

* enabling stakeholders to come together in a citywide consultation to confront common environmental concerns;

* mobilizing resources from various partners to support project implementation; and

* laying the foundation for informed decision-making by generating substantial information on the environmental status of the city.

The Dar es Salaam City Consultation, held in August 1992, identified nine issues as the most pressing environmental management concerns for Dar es Salaam: solid waste (before 1992 less than 3 per cent of the city's wastes was collected); upgrading settlements (3 out of 4 housing units are found in unplanned and unserviced settlements); servicing city expansion (unplanned growth has left many areas without basic services); liquid waste (less than 5 per cent of the city population is served by 130 kilometres of sewers and about 1.8 million rely upon pit latrines and septic tanks); urban transportation (motor vehicle use is escalating, leading to increased congestion and air pollution); open spaces (urban growth has been encroaching upon public spaces, such as recreational areas, hazard lands, green belts and urban areas with agriculture); petty trading (the informal sector has exploded due to trade liberalization and high rates of immigration and unemployment); city centre renewal (infrastructure is inadequate for businesses); and coastal resources (beach erosion has increased due to conflicting land uses along the seashore). …

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