A green lung for the Stone Town : the challenge of developing a green structure for the users of Zanzibar historical city core.

University essay from SLU/Landscape Architecture (until 121231)

Abstract: The state of the unique socio-cultural landscape in the World Heritage site Stone Town of Zanzibar, Tanzania, is critical.Current financial and technical aid is focusing on safeguarding the traditional buildings, but there are no clear and up to date planning strategies for the public spaces where the local inhabitants and visitors run their daily life. Stone Town with it’s winding streets and old Arabic and Indian style in architecture have very few open public spaces while the existing open spaces are being contested either by private developers who establish hotels, cafés and restaurants for the expanding tourism industry or by inhabitants who change them in to private spaces. Additionally the city is over crowded, mainly by the poor local inhabitants where family and extended families live close sharing little indoor space. They are therefore dependent on other space to work, gather and interact. To sum up the public open spaces are of great importance to the locals for interface and livelihood strategies, such as small scale trade, local shops, food stalls and eateries but also social and cultural interaction.The thesis discuss the importance of green, urban spaces, generally and in the context of the Stone Town specifically. The aim of the thesis is to to be a starting point for discussions on if and in what way green, open spaces can benefit to the development of the livelihoods of urban inhabitants in general and the users of the Stone Town specifically, but also on how green open spaces can benefit to the towns status as a world heritage. Another aim has been to inspire a development and change of the many unused and/or abandoned open spaces that exist in Stone Town today. This has been done through studying different types of open spaces in Stone Town and their contexts. These studies have ended up in suggestions for upgrading or for new design or/and management of these spaces. They should be considered as ideas of how open spaces might be developed in order to get more green and liveable open spaces in to Stone Town.The focus group is primarily the staff of the Stone Town Conservation and Development Authority for whom this thesis has been written but also people outside Zanzibar being interested in this treasure of history and culture that Stone Town is.

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