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Regulating informality – the influence of planning standards on long term suitability of urban settlements – the cases of Dar es Salaam/Tanzania and Durban/South Africa

Laufzeit: 2011- 2012

Finanzierung: DFG

Ansprechpartner: Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Sabine BaumgartDr.-Ing. Wofgang Scholz


In Sub-Saharan Africa urbanisation is progressing at a rate unprecedented in human history. In most countries, the state is not in a position to apply a responsive legal framework and to mobilise adequate resources to guide urbanisation.

A major obstacle are the outdated legal framework and the inappropriate planning concepts inherited from colonial governments which often contradict post colonial policies (Ambe 1999) and are unsuitable to respond to rapid urban growth. Consequently, insufficient formal building land is released to the market and informal settlements emerge resulting often in dysfunctional urban fabrics. In Dar es Salaam, informal settlements cover more than 70% of the city area because the public sector cannot provide sufficient land and settlers have to buy plots on the informal land market. In Durban, where 25 to 30% of the population live in informal settlements, the rate has remained relatively constant despite large scale provision of housing through government programmes. Both cases show the need for a new approach to statutory planning in order to guide urban development effectively and to create more functional settlements.

Using a mainly empirical approach this study will analyse factors that determine space standards and land use in prevalent types of formally planned and informal settlements. It aims to identify parameters to ascertain the long-term suitability of settlements, understood as being functional and flexible to respond to future demands resulting from socio-economic development.

Starting point of the research are the livelihood strategies of the residents. The aim is to evolve a responsive framework for statutory planning including spatial standards for settlements that reflect the current reality of urbanisation under poverty while addressing future needs.