Public place, female space : a proposed structure plan for Kihinani, Zanzibar which includes women in the planning process

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

Abstract: The urban population is rapidly expanding and Africa has the fastest growing population in the world. Zanzibar Town is the urban, densely populated area in Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous island state in Tanzania. During the last fifty years, the population has increased by 630% in the city. Due to a combination of lack of planning and adequate infrastructure, extensive areas with informal settlements have developed. This has led to the development of ZanPlan, a comprehensive planning guide for Zanzibar Town. Kihinani is one area pointed out in ZanPlan for further development, due to informal settlements. In informal areas, it is important to provide public space, it creates a sense of community and improves the life quality for the people. In the Zanzibari culture, social life takes place on the streets, but there is a notable difference in how women and men use public space. It is a behaviour firmly rooted in cultural norms, resulting in women spending most of their time at home. The fifth Sustainable Development Goal from the United Nations states that women should have equal participation and involvement in politics, economy and public life. Successful urban planning needs involvement by the local people and women is one group in society which is often ignored in the planning process. The thesis aims to propose a structure plan, with housing, public space and service, for Kihinani and to include women in our planning process. For this, we used the following methods; analysis of ZanPlan, analysis of the site and several different types of interviews with local authorities and women. The information from these methods was analysed and summarised to five strategies, and in conjunction with sketching and discussions, the strategies were used to propose the structure plan for Kihinani. By including women in the planning process, we do not necessarily change the physical outcome of the structure plan. However, the inclusion might make women acknowledging that they can influence planning and this could create a social process where people get more engaged in planning and feel more responsible for their community and neighbourhood. The limited time spent in Zanzibar and our lack of cultural background could have caused gaps in the study. Nevertheless, there are advantages with new viewpoints and this project can work as an inspiration for further planning of Kihinani in the future.

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