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Ng’ambo Atlas


Research, Publication


2016 - 2017

AAmatters team 

Antoni Folkers

Iga Perzyna

Marie Morel

Alexandra Papadaki

Amelie Chauvin

Berend van der Lans


Department of Urban and Rural Planning Zanzibar

City of Amsterdam

African Studies Centre Leiden

Creative Industries Fund

Relevant links


#urban planning #intangible heritage #immaterial culture #placemaking #GO-HUL #finding stories #mapping

Ng’ambo atlas. Historic Urban Landscape of Zanzibar Town’s ‘Other Side’

Ng’ambo Atlas is the concluding chapter of the Ng’ambo Tuitakayo Project undertaken by the Department of Urban and Rural Planning in Zanzibar and African Architecture Matters, in collaboration with the City of Amsterdam between 2012 and 2016. 

The goal of the project was to prepare a local area plan (structure plan) for the new city centre of Zanzibar’s capital. From the beginning, our planning exercises were grounded in the notions of urban culture and heritage, while the principles outlined in the UNESCO Recommendation on Historic Urban Landscape provided us with a framework for the subsequent stages of our work. 

It did not take much time before we realized that the cultural and historic richness of Stone Town’s ‘Other Side’ merited a wider recognition than a technical planning document would allow for. For this reason we decided to collect our findings in an atlas – a format that on the one hand enabled us to bring together and present Ng’ambo’s rich planning history through historic maps and plans, while on the other to draw attention to the outcomes of the mapping of the material and immaterial cultural landscape conducted during the project. 

Ng’ambo is the lesser known ‘Other Side’ of Zanzibar Town. During the British Protectorate the area was designated as the ‘Native Quarters’, today it is set to become the new city centre of Zanzibar’s capital. Local and international perceptions of the cultural and historical importance of Ng’ambo have for a long time remained overshadowed by the social and cultural divisions created during colonial times. One thing is certain: despite its limited international fame and lack of recognition of its importance, Ng’ambo has played and continues to play a vital role in shaping the urban environment of Zanzibar Town.

Ng’ambo atlas presents over hundred years of Ng’ambo’s history and urban development through maps, plans, surveys and images, and provides insights into its present-day cultural landscape through subjects such as architecture, toponymy, cultural activities, public recreation, places for social interaction, handcrafts and urban heritage. 

The Atlas was launched on the 24th of January 2019 in the Klein Auditorium, Academy Building, of Leiden University in the Netherlands, and on the 13th of July 2019 in the Hifadhi building on Kiponda street, in Zanzibar Tanzania.

The Atlas is published by LM Publishers and can be ordered via their website.

It is also available online in digital format through the website of the African Studies Centre Leiden, here

The research, production and publication has been made possible through the generous support from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, the Creative Industries Fund NL, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Dar es Salaam, EFL Foundation and the City of Amsterdam.  

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