Zanzibar night light : a lighting plan for UNESCO World Heritage Zanzibar Stone Town

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

Abstract: Where? Zanzibar is considered to be the centre of Swahili culture, found all along the east coast of Africa. The main city, Stone Town, has for over a millennium constituted an important trading port, merging east African Bantu with Arab culture, adding elements from Persia, India and Europe (NE, 2017). Due to its outstanding universal values, Stone Town got inscribed on the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage List in December 2000 (UNESCO, 2007). The cultural diversity of habitants was more palpable in the Zanzibar society before the revolution that happened in 1964 but the multifaceted Swahili culture is still highly visible in elements of the city’s architecture. Why? However, historical attributes are vulnerable when demands for renewal and development puts pressure on our urban environments. Valuable remnants tend to grow dim in the disarray of private initiatives obstructing with governmental actions in the public space when regulations are missing or not obeyed (ZSTHS, 2002). What? This thesis treats how new light can be cast on both tangible and intangible historical values. It aims to strengthening the place identity by highlighting its attributes when the sun has set, by using light design with a landscape architecture approach. The ambition is to bring out the values of the historical and sometimes neglected urban fabric for the habitants but also visitors of Stone Town to experience anew. How? This revitalisation consists of a Lighting Strategy, suggesting an approach with concrete guidelines and lastly proposals for application for different types of spaces in Stone Town. The thesis further explores the preconditions and evaluate what influence a lighting master plan might have on the city.

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