Dar es Salaam is Tanzania’s palm fringed commercial capital on the Indian Ocean coast. From its roots as a small fishing village in the mid 19th Century, to a Zanzibari sultan’s mainland harbour dream, Dar has continually evolved with waves of traders and visitors from across Africa, Asia and beyond. It is now a cosmopolitan city of over 5 million and one of the fastest growing in Africa.
The project ‘Street Level’ was inspired by the desire to document the city’s architectural heritage in the face of rapid urban development and the demolition of many of its historic buildings. The focus is on Uhindini, the predominantly Asian part of town, which is most threatened by the rash of generic glass high-rise replacing elegant old residential and commercial buildings. Along with the architectural heritage, the whole nature of public space is being transformed – shady canopied corners where vendors used to sell chai and cobblers repaired shoes no longer exist, so not only the area’s character but also its residents livelihoods are affected.
These drawings are a celebration of Dar as well as a call to arms to spark interest and debate about the nature of urban development and its many implications. The Street Level book is currently in its second edition, available at amazon.com.
Author: Sarah Markes