For the first two weeks of May, students of the MSc Urban Development Planning worked in three sites across Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, as part of their field trip project supporting community-based initiatives for informal settlement upgrading.
Working with the Center for Community Initiatives (CCI), a local NGO, and members of the Tanzanian Federation of the Urban Poor, students have been trying to understand the realities of urban life in these three areas while developing ideas to guide more socio-environmentally just trajectories of urban development at the city-wide scale.
The three sites in which the groups are based—Karakata, Chamazi, and Mabwepande—have much in common: they are all growing peri-urban areas, they are all mostly “informal” or “unplanned”, most residents are low-income, and they face similar interlinking challenges such as infrastructure, access to basic services, sanitation, and solid waste disposal. But they also represent different patterns of land acquisition and development within the Tanzanian context.
I recently had the immense privilege of visiting East Africa for the first time. It was a trip to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, for two weeks as part of my MSc program to work with local community groups in a collaborative research process.
With a population of about 5 million, Dar es Salaam is the largest city and commercial center of Tanzania. As a port city it holds special historical significance in the development of East Africa, not least because it was used by colonizers to extract resources from the continent. Under German and then British control before becoming independent, remnants from each era are visible throughout the city. There is also a large Indian influence, and many Indian families have lived in Dar es Salaam for over a century. One of my favorite moments was squishing into the back of a tiny precarious bajaji (tuk-tuk taxi) with three other people on a sunny day, and speeding down the road while the driver blasted music in Hindi.
Happy to announce the launch of this project in which I took part:
“We are a group of 30 DPU students, hailing from 19 different countries, with a passion for photography. Traveling abroad for fieldwork as part of our MSc programmes, we agreed to take photos to share experiences from our unique trips to Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Cambodia and Peru. Before the trip we selected nine themes that served as creative lenses for participating photographers.
For us this blog became a temporary platform to experiment and explore the potential of photography. For you we hope that the blog is conducive of real insight into people’s work and day-to-day experiences, allowing you to emotionally engage with different realities as depicted in the pictures and giving food for thought.
The final blog works as a mosaic of moments and motifs that will hopefully capture your attention.”