The crucial need of urban open spaces in the adaptation to climate change

Start date: 22 January, 2014 End date: 20 February, 2014 Project type: Master's Thesis (prior to 2018) Project code: A26746 Countries: Tanzania Institutions: University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark Grant recipient: Marie Juul Madsen Total grant: 13,000 DKK


Major climate change hazards, such as urban flooding, are affecting African cities like Dar es Salaam, and there is an urgent need to find solutions to these changes.
This study is associated with the partnership research project: "Water Resilient Green Cities For Africa" (WGA), initiated by University of Copenhagen, which investigates the options for using the urban landscape as a strategy to manage water in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The essence of this strategy is the presence of urban open spaces, however, the open spaces are threatened to disappear to development as Dar es Salaam is experiencing growing population numbers. The overall objective of this study is therefore to create a better understanding of the driving forces at community level behind the process towards a more densely built Dar es Salaam. Through fieldwork analysis of the use, function and perception of the urban open spaces in the unplanned settlement Kawe Ukwamani, the aim is to find suggestions on how these spaces in the firture can be maintained, made greener and increase in numbers in order to reverse the process towards a more densely built city.

The fieldwork fmdings indicate that the browning process is due to general natural growth and ongoing rural-urban migration. Moreover, the development at community level is dependent on the urban planning at city level, where lack of proper city plans and provision of cheap housing has contributed to uncontrolled encroachment of urban open spaces. Lastly, when settling down in Kawe Ukwamani, it means a lot to have a place to live close to the city due to increased job opportunities, and living close to other people is also an important factor regarding economic and social activities.

The open spaces in Kawe Ukwamani, that form part of people's livelihood, are highly valued by the residents and are therefore protected from disappearing, while other spaces are more susceptible to change as they are not considered very important. All the open spaces in the area have potential to be upgraded in terms of green elements and in that way function better as ecosystem services, but the green elements should be integrated in the highly valuable spaces, as the green elements are not in themselves very important to the residents, or contain some kind of economic value, such as tree plantation or cropping in order to be best protected from disappearing.

To reverse the process towards a more densely built city, the suggestions are to transform the area into vertical housing style and in that way create more space, or to create greener spaces by tearing worn houses down and transform the land into public spaces with some kind of economic value. It is paramount to establish better communication, trust and relationships between the residents, the Subward office and the urban authorities, as the Subward office, and especially, the urban authorities play a crucial role in terms of protecting the open spaces in the future, and may aet as economic and professional supporter in the transformation process.