Accepted paper:

Anticipating the future city: land transactions in the urban periphery of Dar es Salaam


Stina Moeldrup Wolff (Aarhus University )

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores how the anticipation of a satellite city project in Dar es Salaam is affecting land transactions far into the city’s peri-urban hinterland. It examines the strategies employed by residents to secure their future livelihoods through engaging with private land surveying companies.

Paper long abstract:

This paper explores how plans to construct a satellite city in Dar es Salaam have stimulated an economy of anticipation reaching far into the peri-urban hinterland. Specifically, it investigates how residents in the periphery of the city engage in land transactions with private surveying companies in an effort to secure their land ownership rights and optimise their future livelihoods based on their anticipation of profound changes in the coming years. Since the government announced its intentions to construct Kigamboni New City, the scarcely populated peninsula of Kigamboni has been proposed as the future arena for economic activity. However, implementation of the New City has been marred by incessant delays due to political opposition and protests by Kigamboni residents reluctant to leave the area destined for redevelopment. Meanwhile, the urban fringes surrounding the project area are experiencing a boom in land sales. In particular, private surveying companies have saturated the hinterland. They buy land from villagers at an attractive price, and transform it into enclaves for the future middle class. In return, the villagers receive formal title deeds to smaller plots within their original land claim or capital enough to pursue life elsewhere. Based on ethnographic research, the main argument of the paper is that the anticipation of the New City has had a ripple effect far beyond its project boundary - the case exemplifies how urban mega projects recast the understanding of centre-periphery, fundamentally changing the way people in the urban fringe envision themselves as part of the city's ongoing development.

panel P193
Boundaries, Links, and Flows: the Materiality and Political Meaning of Distinctions between Urban, Suburban, and Rural Africa