Environment & Urbanization

World leading environmental and urban studies journal

Housing Themselves: Transformations, Modernisation and Spatial Qualities in Informal Settlements in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Huba M.

Focus country: 

Focus city: 
Dar es Salaam

Published by: 
Department of Infrastructure, Division of Urban Studies. Royal Institute of Technology

Publisher town: 


THIS DOCTORAL THESIS provides an in-depth examination of housing transformation in informal settlements undertaken by the residents in these areas in order to improve their living conditions in the absence of an alternative housing supply. The author has chosen the case study of Hanna Nassif in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to illustrate this process and, with the findings, aims to bridge the present gap in knowledge for policy makers and researchers working in the field of human settlements. So far, researchers in Tanzania have mainly concentrated on the provision of infrastructure and land management. The author goes beyond this focus and concentrates on the issues around settlement improvements, analyzing the potential and limits and pointing to trends for the future. In this context, various issues are considered particularly important in an understanding of the problems and potentials of the transformations taking place, and the author uses them to structure the analysis of the case study. These issues are housing modernization, actors in the transformation processes, house types, use of space, and spatial qualities.

To identify and analyze different types of transformations regarding space usage and layout alteration and modification, the author emphasizes the need to look particularly at changes to indoor and outdoor spaces, and to the relationship between them. This study provides a good understanding of what is transformed in informal settlements, how these transformations take place and what the factors are that prompt both the transformations and the outcome.

The document is divided into three parts. The first part, consisting of Chapters 1–3, provides the reader with background on the research topic, the context of Dar es Salaam for the development of housing and informal settlements, and includes a review of theories and concepts that are relevant to the study. Chapters 4–9 provide a detailed assessment of the case study. Chapter 4 explains the research methodology, and the analysis of information in the following chapters is structured according to the author’s core issues, as outlined above. The final part of the thesis discusses the findings and makes recommendations. One of the author’s main conclusions is that the efforts made by low-income earners on their own initiative to improve or extend their houses deserve support from the government, and calls for an updating of formal approaches to the housing supply. The thesis concludes with recommendations to be considered by various stakeholders and researchers in the future, and the identification of specific problem areas that need further investigation.

Available from: 
Published by and available from the Department of Infrastructure, Division of Urban Studies, Royal Institute of Technology, S–100 44 Stockholm, Sweden.

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