Coco Beach from city dump to paradise : a design proposal for a public beach in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

University essay from SLU/Dept. of Urban and Rural Development

Abstract: Sub Saharan Africa has during the last decade become the world’s fastest urbanizing region. This change is concentrated to a few metropolitan areas one of them being Dar es Salaam, the largest city of Tanzania. Since the 1960s Dar es Salaam has grown from being a relatively small coastal city of approximately 300 000 people to become a bustling urban centre of four million inhabitants. This development has had a major impact on the city structure, which in turn has affected people’s welfare and the surrounding environment. One such consequence is the detrimental loss of urban vegetation and open areas in the city. The coastline of Dar es Salaam is today part of the larger green spaces in the city still left largely untouched and available for recreational purposes. However the coast is also a large economic asset, this in combination with the existing pressure of urban expansion is rapidly changing the coastal appearance. Economic enterprises such as hotels, shopping centres and privatized beaches are spreading and contributing to an increasingly fragmented coast limiting the public accessibility. The coastline of the Msasani Peninsula is one of the more exploited stretches in the city. Intriguingly though it is also there that Dar es Salaams most popular public beach “Coco Beach” is located. It is visited by several hundreds of people each week and the area functions similar to a city park. However Coco Beach is not being maintained appropriately. No design interventions have been implemented; there is a high level of pollution and a lack of necessary facilities. In the fall of 2014 the Kinondoni Municipality Council published a new redevelopment proposal for the entire east coast of the Msasani Peninsula including Coco Beach. However included in this proposal are various semi-private establishments which may in fact further limit the public accessibility of the beach area. This thesis proposes an alternative design for Coco Beach, with the objective to keep the area completely public. It argues for the benefits that this will provide the city and why we believe it is important for the entire area to be free of charge and open to all city inhabitants independent of economic status. The design strengthens and improves the present qualities of Coco Beach and targets its weaknesses. This is accomplished by focusing on four main keys; Health, Nature, Education and Culture, anchoring the design socially, environmentally and locally. The Coco Beach Park stretches over a length of 2 kilometres. The area is lined by palm trees, emphasizing the name and giving a strong sense of local identity. The park further consists of four areas with different characters, focusing on various activities. These are connected through a design language inspired by the ocean waves. This project could act as a guideline for further public developments along the Tanzanian coast.

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