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From Z to A to Z to A and back

Yesterday we concluded an exciting series of events including a successful workshop that kicked off the A2Z2A project. This project involves an intensive collaboration of the Zanzibar Department of Urban and Rural Planning and the City of Amsterdam, focusing on the development of policies and tools in urban heritage management.

Zanzibari and Amsterdam experts during the design studio

The Government of Zanzibar has recently developed National Spatial Planning Strategies and is in the process of implementing them. One of the key focuses is to develop specific policy and instruments for urban planning and maintenance based on heritage, since Zanzibar has a rich history that is still clearly demonstrated in tangible and intangible forms. Most significant and world famous is Stone Town, recognised by UNESCO as World Heritage Site.

Just like Zanzibar, the City of Amsterdam shares the responsibility over a World Heritage Site (the Seventeenth Century Canal Ring). In Amsterdam, a balanced alliance of public and private parties plays an important role in maintaining the historic character of the city while there is space for development. It is a good example of the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) approach, developed by UNESCO for the regeneration of historic urban areas. The Government of Zanzibar has adopted the HUL approach and aims to implement this.

Few years ago, Zanzibar and Amsterdam started explorations on collaboration with the aim to assist in the development of policies and instruments for heritage based urban regeneration in Zanzibar. This now lead to the A2Z project.

Through action - the implementation of 2 projects with concrete results and including the public and private sector - these policies and instruments will be further shaped. Meanwhile the City of Amsterdam is also learning from this: planning of dynamic transformation processes is relatively unusual in the contemporary Dutch environment and so is the input of intangible heritage in urban planning.

Hifadhi Zanzibar is a private company of which its shares are in the hands of the private sector. It is modeled after Stadsherstel Amsterdam and in the first year of its existence it will be supported by its Amsterdam equivalent and AAmatters through the A2Z project. The first projects will be started and the team will be built up and trained.

Ng'ambo Tuitakayo - ‘the Ng'ambo we want’ - involves resident communities and all relevant stakeholders in the area just outside of Stone Town in the development of the Local Area Plan and the Policy Planning Guidelines for historical urban areas. It is the aim to initiate concrete designs of public spaces in the area that serve as pilots for larger scale interventions at later date.

The weekend was not only used to kick off the project and reach the first results, but also to find synergies with initiatives that relate to the project. Worldbank, Turku University, BSLA, Pan African Housing Fund and other local and international organisations confirmed their commitment on collaboration on open spaces, infrastructure, housing, finance, GIS mapping and community involvement.

The teams have started and work towards the next workshop in a couple of months, again bringing together the experts from Zanzibar and Amsterdam.

AAmatters coordinates the projects and is keen to inform you regularly on the activities in the coming year.

Debates during the shareholders meeting of Hifadhi

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