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       Chapter VII: Capital Image and Urban Design


This is a menu of the topics on this page (click on any): AIMS    The Land and Agriculture    The People    The Policy of Socialism and Self-Reliance   .


Taking the National Development Policies from the Arusha Declaration as objective for the city, a means of symbolizing them in the plan was sought, particularly in relation to the National Capital Structure. They were as follows:

The Land and Agriculture

"Land is the basis of human life and all Tanzanians should use it as a valuable investment for future development. It is to be used for the benefit of the Nation and not for the benefit of one individual or just a few people." (The Arusha Declaration).

The Capital has been laid out with these concepts in mind. The major concept of symbolic importance is the form chosen for the city. The man-made geometric forms of the grid iron and radial plans were considered inappropriate, particularly in view of the traffic patterns of the city. A total integration of man with the landscape was considered essential. The nature of that integration is discussed later.

It was also considered important that the city should not encroach on land valuable for the purposes of agriculture or water storage or recharge. In the site selection process, lower pediment slopes of the hills were identified as having the best urban development potential. These slopes being largely in eroded zones, the city would assist in a process of land reclamation. The relationship to the hills provided opportunity for a decentralized approach to planning that appeared particularly suitable. Symbolically this linked the city and its people intimately to the landscape, as opposed to submerging the land in man-made forms.

The location of the Capital at the country's major cross-roads, symbolically relates the Government's major buildings directly to the agricultural areas of all Tanzania. The city's major transport routes have been located so as to give their users maximum advantage of views and perspectives of this distinctive landscape. A constant awareness of a place and identity with the land was sought. In this regard, the location of the TANU National Headquarters and Parliament Buildings is of special significance. Representing the power of the people of Tanzania, it is set high on the northern ridge of Chimwaga at a point where it is the focus of vistas from all directions. From this vantage point there are superb views to nearly all points of the compass, including Chamwino, the centre of Tanzania's Ujamaa village programme, where agriculture is stressed as the basis for development. From here, one relates to all of Tanzania. In the words of President Nyerere, "Here is Tanzania."

Other concepts relating to the land were incorporated at the community level, where shambas, private open space, walkways and bicycle ways were designed as an integral part of the system, so that every family should be close to the land. In the determination of housing mix and house types, it was considered necessary that every family with children should have private outdoor space on the ground.

On the larger scale, and at a more symbolic level, the city was laid out so as to enable the open space of the landscape to flow through it. In this way every community would be close to major parkland, hills or green space. In Dodoma's semiarid, dry-season conditions, the presence of water is particularly pleasant. As most Tanzanians come from areas where water is more abundant, the use of water bodfes in the urban design was considered essential. Care was taken to integrate storm drainage patterns with impoundment areas which would store run-off water and would reduce erosion caused by velocity; these are to be landscaped as pleasant oases in the townscape. Water is symbolic of an agricultural nation's lifeblood and its decorative effect has been incorporated as fountains, reflecting pools or chutes, particularly at points where there is maximum visual exposure to pedestrians.

In terms of parks and space in the city, care has been taken to bring the major shafts of space directly into the heart of the Capital. The Hombolo Ridge contains the city from the east and provides the prominent location of the TANU and Parliament Buildings. To the west, the city is contained by Itega which connects, via the open space system of the National Cemetery and the Botanical Garden, to the Nzinge Swamp. In the centre, a carefully modulated but continuous shaft of green space flows from the Dodoma Hills via Imagi, the International Exhibition Ground and the Saba Saba Ground, to Mlimwa and the great plains beyond. Residential communities nestle in the Kikuyu and Ntyuka valleys.

The People

The symbolizing of the people in the Capital is related to certain specific concepts. The idea of linking the urban environment to the land form has been mentioned, as have the linkages to the country and rural areas. In terms of the lives of the people, how do these work?

The Arusha Declaration has a section entitled Let Us Pay Heed to the Peasant in which it is stated that "The largest proportion of the loans will (in conventional national development plans) be spent in, or for, the urban areas, but the largest proportion of the repayment will be made through the effort of the farmers."

"This fact should always be borne in mind, for there are various forms of exploitation. We must not forget that people who live in towns can possibly become the exploiters of those who live in the rural areas."

These paragraphs of the Declaration establish one of the reasons why rural development must be given priority over urban development, except where city improvements can generate direct benefits for the people of the rural areas.

The urban area of the Capital City District represents only a fraction of the total District. The Master Plan includes a major study of the Region with recommendations for a programme for the development of both agricultural and industrial growth in the rural areas, into which the Capital City District would be meshed. This was essential, so that the Capital would not exploit, but would bring benefits to the rural people of the region and the Country.

The Tanzanian people as a whole can perhaps best be recognized by their gregariousness. The Capital, the cross-roads of the nation, will provide a meeting place and a forum for discussion, exchange of ideas, education and relation to national leaders. This fact must be recognized in the Capital element of the city, both at large and small scale. The sociological importance of the major open spaces of the Capital must be recognized and utilized.

The master plan for the city, at local scale, includes numerous opportunities for social interaction, not the least of which is the busway. This is seen, not only as an efficient mechanical transportation system, but also as an opportunity for meeting and discussion, both on the bus and at the busway stations. The walkway systems in the communities and the bicycleways between them, provide similar opportunities.

Relating to the Country as a whole, the National Capital Structure particularly emphasizes the nature of the city as a forum. The airport will be an attraction as a place for meetings and farewells and has been sized to maximize the visual image of the city to its users. The railway station is also expected to be a node of social activity, as are the local and regional bus stations; these are closely linked by means of pedestrian walks and squares. A major mall, an avenue for walking and meeting with its important buildings carefully modulated and articulated to human scale, leads from the railway station, to the city's major gathering place — the People's Square. Reference back to Plate 8 shows some of these ideas in diagrammatic form.

The Avenue looking north from the People's Square, focuses on the open plains and Mfimwa; looking south, it focuses on Iseni Hill, the International Conference Centre and the Religious Centre close to the People's Square, symbolizing two more concepts related to people. The first is the concept of equal opportunity to all men and women, irrespective of race, religion and status; the second symbolizes cooperation for African freedom and unity, and world peace and security through the United Nations. The cultural buildings of the Capital are grouped at the People's Square and on the Iseni Ridge, bringing together the people and their heritage. This symbolism is carried further in the integration of the existing town of Dodoma, into the framework of the National Capital Structure. The old town of Dodoma, or the Mother City, has provided the stimulus for the new. As with a human family, it has been welcomed into the family of the new city in that, rather than being razed, it will be rejuvenated to the standards of the new communities of the Capital in urban renewal proposals; open space links to the new city have been designed, and water flowing from the slopes of the new communities is impounded in the pools and waterways of the old city.

The Policy of Socialism and Self-Reliance

The city's residential communities have been laid out with a complete mix of densities and house types. All communities should include people of all income brackets and employment backgrounds. Land forms rather than the size or type of housing will establish the character of all communities and all will have equally pleasant open space patterns, though perhaps different in character. In this manner, it is expected that the avoidance of elitism, stressed in the Arusha Declaration, will be achieved. This concept is essential to the symbolism of the National Capital. The nature of the major building complexes is also envisaged as complementing the landscape, located so that rather than dominating it, they emphasize the unity of the leaders, their buildings, the land forms and the people.

The major buildings are also located so that they are easily accessible. All are close to the busway and, therefore, only a short distance away from every community in the Capital.

It is intended that all the major buildings will be designed on the basis of energy-saving and selfreliant principles, using local materials and labour wherever possible and avoiding the need for hard currency expenditures on mechanical devices, such as elevators and air conditioning.

Self-reliance should also be encouraged in the use of co-operative and even self-help techniques of construction, suited to the quality expected in the Capital. The opportunity for a level of Self- Reliance, has been incorporated in the provision of shamba space on the periphery of each community. However, in all these endeavours hard work on the principle of Uhuru ni Kazi — freedom is work — will be required.


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Copyright: Project Planning Associates Limited, Toronto, Canada, directed by Mr. Macklin Hancock and recipient "The Government of Tanzania, Capital Development Authority under the auspices of Mr. George Kahama.".