Wolfgang Scholz: Challenges of Informal Urbanisation – The Case of Zanzibar/Tanzania. Dortmund 2008 (SPRING Research Series 50). 

(vorgestellt von Wolfgang Scholz)

This study focuses on rapidly evolving informal settlements on the urban fringe of African cities. While the formal planning system is not able to cope with the demand for building land and plots, informal settlements provide the space for housing and urban livelihoods. The outcome is ambivalent: Unplanned growth results in massive deficits in terms of services and infrastructure and in conflicting land uses, but it also holds opportunities due to the provision of shelter and self-regulation of building activities.

The aim of this study is to analyse the mechanisms and actors involved in informal urban growth and to identify strategies to guide urban development in an environment of weak public authorities. The goal to achieve is the reconciliation of informal and formal urbanisation processes and the combination of the advantages of both mechanisms in order to create new strategic planning instruments.Starting point of the study is the proposition that the subdivision process is the most important step in the development of a settlement because it determines the (non-expandable) spatial potential for future development. Therefore, this study deals with spatial dimensions such as access, distance and plot size, with conflicts on land use and encroachment, with security of tenure and with actors and stakeholders involved in the settlement development process.
The City of Zanzibar in Tanzania has been chosen as the case study because it displays a comprehensive range of the phenomena studied while its limited size provides manageable research conditions, availability of data and access to authorities. Zanzibar Town – as the only town on the island – incorporates all relevant functions of a city including a high degree of migration from rural areas, which are normally only found in the largest city of a country. Therefore, it allows the general comparison of the research outcomes to large primary cities without having to deal with their complexity.
The study is based on an empirical investigation of informal urban development. The research combines an analysis of literature and historical documents on informal urban development with empirical fieldwork based on selected multiple case studies with inventories, surveys and interviews.
The fieldwork revealed that the state has neither the capacity or resources nor an appropriate institutional and legal framework to cope with rapid urbanisation and the high demand for building land. Therefore, land seekers are driven to the uncontrolled informal land market by economic constraints.In informally developed settlements, developers provide sufficient building plots but no land for technical and social infrastructure because it would not be compensated. It has been found, however, that many developers are copying the layout scheme of planned settlements onto their own property in order to achieve suitable subdivision arrangements. In other cases, informal urban development fails resulting in an unsuitable settlement structure without vehicular access and land reserves for services.
Based on these findings, the concept of ‘guided planning‘ was followed to develop new strategic guidelines and instruments integrating the needs and potentials of all stakeholders: the land owners as the most influential group in economic terms, the state as the responsible stakeholder for public interests and the settlers as beneficiaries and users of the new settlements. The proposed norms are understandable and applicable for informal developers, controllable and acceptable for the state and acceptable for the settlers.
The guidelines focus on a simple subdivision and road reserve scheme to provide access to each housing cluster based on a three acre plot which is the common size of peri-urban land holdings on Zanzibar. Their application will support adequate servicing of the new settlements as well as community building.