Tanzania is emblematic of a rapidly urbanizing Africa. Twenty years ago, 22% (2000) of its population was living in urban areas, while the proportion has risen to more than one-third (2020: 35%) to date. By 2040, more than half of Tanzanians will reside in cities. The economic hub and biggest city of the country, Dar es Salaam, currently hosting around 6 million citizens, is projected to double this figure in the coming 15 years and will become one of six African cities with over 10 million inhabitants by 2035.
Currently, urbanization in Tanzania produces unjust cities – cities which are reproducing and aggravating socio-economic inequality, instead of reducing it. Urban inequality is manifesting itself through a lack of equitable and accessible public goods like housing and adequate shelter, access to land and security of tenure, transport, and others. Access to these goods remains limited to a small minority of urban dwellers, while the majority of urban residents find themselves living and interacting in and through informal arrangements.
Urbanization is politically and socially shapeable through participatory processes of urban planning, policy development and implementation. The views of city residents who are directly affected by the ongoing urban transformation need to be heard and incorporated in this process. With our partners in civil society, academia and local government representatives, we seek to finds ways of providing adequate and affordable housing and safe public transport in the context of urban informality in Tanzania.