Ubungo Darajani, Tanzania: Urban planning, land rights, and food security


Access to land is a central problem and source of conflict in urban contexts in Africa, and Tanzania is a good example of this. In this country, located in eastern Africa1, one of the main problems derives from the absence or poor organization of urban planning, especially in the more peripheral areas of the cities. For the purposes of this case study, an urban setting is defined as contiguous sub-places predominantly made up of proclaimed land where there is a reasonably high density of people (more than 500 people per km2) and where residents have access to urban amenities and opportunities (schools, hospitals/clinics, services, recreation, work, etc).2 The urban population of Tanzania is estimated at 30%, and is increasing at about 11% per year. Informal settlements are expanding rapidly. In Tanzania, all land is public, vested in the President as trustee for and on behalf of the citizens. Legally, there are two main types of land tenure: statutory and customary. Both systems coexist in most rural and urban areas. All citizens who wish to occupy and use land in Tanzania can apply to the municipalities for land. The government grants its citizens renewable rights of occupancy on land that has been surveyed of up to 99 years at a premium and revisable annual rent. To be valid, the right has to be registered under the Land Registration Ordinance Chapter 334 (Sheuya el al. 2010: 3-4).

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Dar es Salaam has a historical problem of unplanned settlements, with Ubungo Darajani being one of them. This informal settlement is located some 9 km away from Dar es Salaam (Magigi & Majani 2005) and covers 26 hectares, a low land area that experiences flooding during the rainy season. It has a total of 849 households and 4,245 people, of which 2,420 are female. Of the 849 households, 269 are landholders and 580 are tenants (URT 2002). The population of this informal settlement is from various ethnic backgrounds, with a great degree of cultural, social, and economic diversity. The presence of religious groups and female credit associations is an important point of analysis to understand land regularization in Ubungo Darajani. These groups have influenced many aspects of local development and the level of social welfare (Magigi 2010).
The main economics activities involve the local settlement: gardening, land business, petty trading, and farming. Other activities include owning retail shops, garages, hotels, and restaurants; and animal and poultry keeping (up to 32%). Additional subsistence activities include off-farm activities such as carpentry and the sale of processed building wood, which employs 20% of residents. Sixty percent of residents affirmed having formal employment, leaving about 40% of residents to be employed in the informal sector. This employment pattern and level, and increased housing investments for renting and residential purposes, enhances the community’s contribution capacity in land use planning processes (URT 2002). Furthermore, if, in the past, unplanned areas were considered to be occupied by the poor and by socially deviant persons, current evidence suggests a more complex situation with middle- and high-income households, as well as civil servants and prominent entrepreneurs, having a sizeable presence in these areas. In Dar es Salaam, high-income households are seen to be developing expensive buildings in unplanned areas, which could be said to be undergoing gentrification (Magugi 2008). At the periphery of urban areas, high income households are buying land from locals to build on it immediately, or to use it for agricultural purposes for a time before subdividing it into plots for development. Download to read more



Publisher Inclusive Cities Observatory
Year 1992
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