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       Chapter II: A Concept for the National Capital

The Regional Development Concept

This is a menu of the topics on this page (click on any): THE REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT CONCEPT The Basic Regional Problems    Agriculture    Growth Centres and Villages    Preservation of Natural Resources   .

THE REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT CONCEPT

The Basic Regional Problems

One of the basic purposes of establishing the National Capital at Dodoma was to generate substantial socio-economic benefits for the surrounding region. The region is an area characterized by low levels of personal income, periodic droughts and resulting crop failures, severe soil erosion problems caused by deforestation and overgrazing by cattle, and an area which has a relatively low standard of community and social services and facilities.

One of the expected results of moving the Capital from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma is that it will be a major factor in improving these regional deficiencies. The Government is convinced that the growth of a major city can play a significant role in the efforts to distribute the national wealth more evenly across the country. The Capital City will become a readily accessible market for the surrounding region's agricultural products and resources, such as timber and aggregates. It will create jobs where there is substantial underemployment. The urban institutions will provide the regional population with better and more accessible educational, health and social services, and with higher standards of transportation and communications. And, perhaps most importantly, the relocation of the National Capital into one of the country's less developed regions will give the people the necessary impetus and encouragement to strive harder towards a better future for themselves and their children.

The underlying philosophy of the Capital's relocation demands that the master plan for the city itself be fully integrated with a regional development strategy and plan, to ensure that the long-term beneficial effects will be optimized.

Agriculture

The city, as a nearby market for food products, is expected to encourage new investments in agriculture, in terms of financing the application of modern technology and encouraging greater personal efforts by the farmers. Notwithstanding the relatively unfavourable climate and soil conditions which prevail in parts of the region, agricultural production can be increased by better irrigation, erosion control programmes, the use of fertilizers and the cultivation of crops which are specifically suited to the local conditions. Improved roads and transportation equipment, and the development of better food processing, storage and distribution facilities in strategic locations in the region, will ensure that the farm products can reach the markets as and when required. And the Capital City's institutions will bring agricultural extension, financing and marketing programmes closer to the region's farmers.

Increased agricultural production will, therefore, be one of the major objectives of regional development. The regional plan must identify and designate all the arable and grazing lands and must include policies to protect them from encroachment by other uses. River and stream valleys and other areas with good irrigation potentials, and the maize belt along the east of Dodoma Region offer the best opportunities for crops.

The region's interior plains are the most suitable areas for cattle grazing. To the north-west of Dodoma, in the quadrant between the Arusha Road and the Manyoni Road, a large area must be reserved as a holding ground where cattle are held prior to their use in the city's abattoir and the meat processing plant which is proposed for the western industrial area.

Growth Centres and Villages

The Capital City itself can only function as one element in the process of improving regional development. Other, if smaller, urban centres or growth centres, must be established as well. The regional plan must designate a number of strategically located villages or towns as secondary development nodes, to overcome the problems of distance between the city and the different parts of the region and to provide employment opportunities for unemployed rural people. Processing, storage and distribution facilities, manufacturing and repair enterprises, and educational and other social services must be reasonably close to all villages and other rural settlements in the region if an effective improvement programme is to be achieved.

In the same manner as the Capital City serves the total region, the growth centres will serve subregions. In turn, the sub-regions will include a number of planned villages, the residents of which live close to their farms and grazing areas.

The regional development concept, therefore, consists of a hierarchy of settlements, ranging from the city, to the towns or growth centres, to the key villages, villages and small settlements. Each contains a range of facilities and services to serve its own impact area. The strategy of decentralization of functions is the underlying principle of sound regional development, leading to a truly equitable distribution of incomes and well-being.

In fact, this principle of decentralization was the genesis of the decision to relocate the National Capital from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma. And when Dodoma has reached an economic take-off plateau, probably when its population has reached the 350,000 mark, the Government of Tanzania should consider steps to curb the further development of the Capital, by stressing development in other economically deficient regions to continue this decentralization process.

Preservation of Natural Resources

The preservation, enhancement and use for all time of the region's natural resources of water, soil, forests and wildlife, and its recreational and visual qualities must be another major goal of regional planning. In the past, de-forestation and over-grazing have created serious problems of soil erosion, with the resultant loss of agricultural opportunities and precious water resources. To ensure that future generations will be abie to enjoy a better quality of life, positive steps must be taken to recreate forests and other vegetation cover and to protect surface and sub-surface water areas throughout the region, so that the natural cycles of environmental maturing and rejuvenation will once again begin to take place.

The region's hills, ridges and upper slopes should be designated as conservation areas. They must be carefully protected against the dangers of uncontrolled stock grazing, wood cutting for fuel, and quarrying, intensive, long-term reforestation and erosion control programmes are essential.

Swamps, streams, ponds and sub-surface water bodies must be regarded as the life blood of the region. They must be vigorously protected against any forms of land use or development which may cause pollution or water loss, due to rapid run-off and evaporation. Planting of trees and other vegetation on slopes and along streams, reforestation over aquifers and the construction of deep holding ponds are among the suggested techniques. The Nzinge Swamp, to the west of Dodoma, is particularly vulnerable to pollution because of its proximity to the growing city. Urbanization, with its attendant hazards of polluting sewage and surface water run-off, must not be allowed to come too close to the swamp and a generous belt of undeveloped land must be retained around it.

As the Capital City and the region's other urban centres grow, their residents will experience an increasing need to revitalize themselves periodically in the wide open and undeveloped spaces which are so characteristic of Tanzania. The recreational values of the region's natural preserves, its forests, rivers, hills and plains are, therefore, of extreme importance in the creation of a truly satisfying urban living environment. They must be accessible and usable, for picnics and hikes, to observe plants and wildlife, and to ensure that the urban people will always be able to remain close to the soils which embody the Tanzanian heritage.



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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.".