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       Chapter VII: Capital Image and Urban Design

Urban Design And Image


The incorporation of the above concepts in design terms was achieved in the following ways.

The idea that the man-made should be closely integrated with the natural landscape has been discussed. The land and landscape were taken as the generators of all design in this plan; they comprise the framework within which man and his city live. In this, the Tanzanian's traditional cultural heritage, his love of land and the political desire to bring country and city into harmony, are reflected.

It was not considered feasible to represent the Capital with large man-made structures. Physical impressiveness, where it occurs, should be natural. To this end, prominent points were identified in the landscape, which serve as settings for major Capital buildings. In the urban design process, these points were linked by a series of imaginary lines, shafts, curves and radii, that gave a structure to what would otherwise be a haphazard arrangement of these major elements.

The Capital's location, at the intersection of the Great North-South Road, from Cape Town to Cairo, and the east-west route from the Lakes to the Coast, gives significance and prominence to these major directions. In detail, these are reflected in the existing town of Dodoma, by the straight line of the railway, as it cuts through the town, setting up one strong and insistent axis. Running at right angles, is the shaft of the Great North Road to Arusha. In these transportation routes, the man-made linkages to the four corners of Tanzania are already represented.

The existing town nestles in a natural "bowl", formed by the Imagi hill chain, Itega and Mlimwa. The orientation of the bowl, however, does not exactly match that of the railway and roads. The Imagi ridge runs at almost 30Πto the axis of the railway. The perpendicular to this line reaches into the vast, distant and infinitely attractive space of the Masai Steppe to the north-west. Symbolically, this links to Olduvai and the Great Rift Valley. It was felt that the lines of force in the landscape, the Imagi ridge and the plains, were so insistent that they had to be recognized in the Capital's urban design framework.

A design concept, therefore, was developed where the axis of the railway and its perpendicular represent the Mother City and the Old Order, while the axis of Imagi ridge and its perpendicular represent the new National Capital and its greater significance. It is on the basis of this concept that the design of the National Capital Structure Plan was developed.

Plates 16 and 17 show the conceptual lines, linking the important elements of the plan. They illustrate those axes which served as the framework for the National Capital Centre's design within the master plan.

Plate 16 plate16

[1] The bracketed numbers in this paragraph refer to the identification numbers on Plate 16, identifying the major buildings and spaces in the National Capita! Centre. Plate 16 shows the National Capital Structure. From the new railway station transportation hub (5.6)', which links all people in Tanzania to the city, both design axes are represented: the old, linking it via the commercial core to the mother city; and the new, which links the station along a grand mall to the People's Square (4.4), at the end of the Imagi Hill chain. On arrival at the new station, the axis of this great avenue leads gently up, through the major commercial facilities of the new Capital, to the People's Square and beyond, to the top of the ridge and the International Conference Centre (1.7), a reminder of Tanzania's commitment to Pan-Africanism. From this Centre on the ridge, the view back down the grand mall focuses on the vast northern plain, framed by the inselberg Mlimwa. At right angles to the grand mall and just below the People's Square, the Processional Way (4.1) parallels the Imagi ridge in a line that links the major government and institutional functions. At the north-eastern extremity of the Imagi ridge and just beyond the People's Square, this Processional Way sweeps through ninety degrees past the National Stadium (2.5), on a curve centred roughly on the International Centre, to pick up an axis from the High Court to Mlimwa. From there it follows the line of the axis linking the International Centre to the National TANU Headquarters and Parliament (1.1), on the ridge of Chimwaga, the most prominent point in the Dodoma landscape. This point was chosen for the Parliament site, because of its commanding position relating visually to all of Tanzania: east, through the Ihumwa Valley to Morogoro and the Coast; south, through the Ntyuka Valley to Iringa and the southern regions; west, over the city of Dodoma, to the Lakes; and north, to the great plains of Tanzania and to Kilimanjaro.

plate17 The National Capital Structure Plan clearly shows the interplay of these axes. It is the intention that they be used in the siting and orientation of buildings and other facilities, to focus on or emphasize the major landscape elements of the hills and valleys, bringing together the urban and the rural environments in the most intimate fashion It is expected that the constant rhythm of the interplay of these axes will give the subtle combinations of grandeur and humility, manmade and natural, which are so important in expressing the Tanzanian aims for their Capital City.

The National Capital Structure Plan not only shows the framework of urban design aspects of the Master Plan, but it also shows, at large scale, the integration of the existing city core into the residential community principle of the urban design scheme for the new city.

Three distinct new residential communities can be identified on the plan, as well as the larger community of old Dodoma. The east-west thrust of the National Capital Structure, from the TANU Headquarters and Parliament Buildings on Chimwaga to the proposed University of Itega, links the communities, while the sweep of open space, from Imagi and the Ntyuka Valley to Mlimwa, intersects the structure and brings green space from the country into the very heart of the city, integrating the urban and rural qualities of Tanzania.

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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.".