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Ng’ambo Housing Action Plan brings heritage based urban regeneration closer

From 9-11 April, The Government of Zanzibar, the Zanzibar Social Security Fund and African Architecture Matters organised a dynamic and successful workshop in Reclaim Women Space in Stone Town. This resulted in the Ng’ambo Housing Action Plan, which was presented to the community of Kisimamajongoo and Kisiwandui on Saturday 11 April.

The workshop focussed on affordable and accessible housing in the densifying neigbourhood of Ng’ambo while respecting its tangible and intangible heritage. The residents of Ng’ambo, of which a majority of low-income groups, are the bearers and beholders of the intangible heritage of the area. Consequently affordable housing is essential to maintain intangible heritage in Ng’ambo. According to the newly adopted Master Plan, Ng’ambo will become the centre of Zanzibar Metropolis. Densification of Zanzibar Town is identified as strategy against further urban sprawl in the recently produced planning documents. Moreover, it gains opportunities to invest in infrastructure and public space within the area.

The workshop brought together local and international expertise, with presentations by Shelter Afrique, the World Bank, the City of Amsterdam, Stadsherstel Amsterdam, a private developer from Finland and Zanzibari knowledge on the city. Three housing development strategies that may be followed were discussed: via (1) a housing corporation, (2) a housing association or (3) a private developer.

The workshop advised the creation of the Ng’ambo Housing Action Team. This core group will consist of residents and stakeholders from the private and public sectors. Their focus will be to quickly initiate a pilot housing development project, which can be up-scaled for regeneration of historic urban areas elsewhere in Zanzibar later. The Action Team will contribute to Zanzibar’s goal to create a liveable, vibrant and inclusive city aiming at becoming the most sustainable city of Africa in 2030.

The report elaborates on the discussions and conclusions of the workshop and includes the results of further research into finance methods and processes to be followed. The report presents final conclusions and recommendations and will soon be handed over to Zanzibar Social Security Fund, who was the core funder of the project.

The research and workshop forms part of Ng’ambo Tuitakayo, ‘the Ng’ambo we want’, a series of steps that together aim to achieve an inclusive and sustainable, heritage-based urban regeneration for Ng’ambo. The Government of Zanzibar has adopted the UNESCO Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) approach for heritage based urban regeneration and Ng’ambo is forming a pilot project for the implementation of this. In the coming years, projects like the pilot housing project will be realised and create feedback to policies that are developed for up scaling in other historic urban areas.

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