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Urban planning, land rights, and food security

Dar es Salaam


This case describes spatial land use planning and urban agriculture practises in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, one of the rapidly urbanising cities in Sub-Saharan Africa. It demonstrates how urban agriculture livelihood can be integrated in spatial land use planning and improve urban land governance, using Ubungo Darajani as case study. Location and peri-urban typology help to understand the policy and practical premises that constrain urban agriculture livelihood integration in urban land use planning processes and land management principles.

The case shows that the urbanisation processes, urban poverty, food insecurity, and inadequate community involvement in land use planning are the factors underpinning and catalysing changes in land use, land transactions, immigration, and overall urban agriculture proliferation in the city. The implications generated by these factors suggest that poor urban land governance is not only the cause, but it is caused by the weakness of planning institutions to realise and adapt to the new challenges that urban agriculture presents to urban land development process. Correspondingly, the rise of urban agricultural land use by and large indicates a disparity between this activity and the widely cherished planning norms and standards underpinning formal land use planning processes and structures in urban development.

The inclusion of urban agriculture-based livelihoods in spatial land use planning processes and structures, including decision-making, preparation, implementation, and monitoring, can improve the livelihoods of the urban poor-smallholder farmers and use of space. This can be achieved through (but is not limited to) adopting participatory urban planning approaches, settlement upgrading, institutional collaborations, decentralising roles to the local level, and strengthening smallholder organization through institutionalisation and giving them a voice and platform in the political dialogue. These options can be effective when the government is able to enforce and review policy and legislation in place, different actors are involved in the decision-making processes, and information and communication awareness is established.


Householders and landholders, local community.

Institutionalization process

The experience of Ubungo Dajarani shows how a partnership of civil society, local authorities, government, and university could become a legal instrument of democratizing of the land legislation. The dynamic mechanism of participatory forums where the suggestions and proposals cross all decisions spheres showed an interesting way to solve local struggles and offered the government a wide overview of the land situation at the local level.


University College of Land and Architectural Studies (UCLAS) and Ministry of Lands and Human Settlement Development (MLHSD), both from Tanzania, with additional support at different stages from international institutions, including the World Bank.