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Ng’ambo Housing Research


Research, Workshops




AAmatters team

Berend van der Lans

Steven Zijlstra

Antoni Folkers

Aurora Kazi Bassett

Nicole Bolomey

Amélie Chauvin

Alexandra Papadaki




City of Amsterdam

Stadsherstel Amsterdam NV

Relevant links

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TOS master thesis blog


#affordable housing #Heritage based urban regeneration #intangible heritage #urban planning

Since 2013, the Department of Urban and Rural Planning (DoURP) of the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar, together with African Architecture Matters and other partners, is advancing on the heritage-based regeneration of Ng’ambo following the UNESCO Historic Urban Landscape approach. Through mapping exercises and a design by research / research by design approach under the flag of ‘Ng’ambo Tuitakayo’ (The Ng’ambo we want), a Local Area Plan for Ng’ambo and Policy Planning Guidelines for Historic Urban Areas are being developed.


Ng’ambo is earmarked the future city centre following the Masterplan for Zanzibar town, Zansplan (2015). In the Masterplan, it is further stated that the area is considered inclusive and mixed use, hence a mix of commercial and residential use.


Residential use is essential if one strives for heritage-based regeneration, with an emphasis on intangible heritage. Intangible heritage is the socio-cultural component of the urban history; this comes for a great part from its residents.


This forms an important driver for the development of a specific strategy to realise affordable housing in the existing urban tissue, providing opportunities for the current inhabitants to remain residing in the area but at the same time improving the urban quality and living conditions. Affordable housing in Africa is usually provided on clean sheet sites at the periphery of urban areas. If housing is realised in urban zones, the existing structures are pushed aside, often with their residents, and replaced by high-end commercial residential development.


Maintaining the current residents – of whom a substantial part is of modest means – as future residents in the area, means that strategies need to be developed to realise affordable housing in the area that fits well into the Local Area Plan.


In December 2014, this was the motivation for DoURP and AAmatters to start a research and organise a workshop on housing strategies in a Historic Urban Landscape (HUL), supported by Zanzibar Social Security Fund.


The result of the research and workshop was presented in a report that was published in August 2015. The report included the Ng’ambo Housing Action Plan that was further discussed in workshops in October and December 2015.


The conclusions of these discussions have been condensed in a further elaborated proposal for the Ng’ambo Housing Action Plan (NGH Action Plan) and has been presented to partners of DoURP to stimulate the formation of the NGH Action Team.


The next steps are being prepared in 2017.

Download the report here

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