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       Chapter II: A Concept for the National Capital

The Urban Concept


As mentioned earlier, a fast, economical and efficient transportation system is needed for the new Capital, and capable of expansion as the city grows. One of the primary requirements therefore, is the development of a system which will meet the following criteria: it must interconnect all the city's residential and work areas; all dwellings and work places must be within reasonable walking distances of a stop; it must be readily capable of being expanded and adapted as the city grows; it must be as economical as possible in both capital and operating costs; and it should be labour-rather than capital-intensive.

These criteria have led to the development of a linear urban growth system, whereby residential communities and work places are linked by a public transit line to form a continuous loop. The conceptual plan which emerged from research in this area consists of a series of more or less elongated loops, the length of each being determined by the optimum relationships between travel time and the number of vehicles required to meet the estimated demand for movement. By letting pairs of loops meet as in a figure-of-eight, the necessary transfer points can be created.

This public transportation system, consisting of buses running on exclusive rights-of-way through the residential and work areas, arranged in a series of interconnecting elongated loops, was a major parameter for the urban concept and the Master Plan design.

figure5 The residential communities described earlier form an integral part of the urban system as shown in Figure 5. The system consists of an arrangement of urban components connected by a busway route, the principal components being the residential communities, and the A and B centres, separated from each other by open spaces. Research indicates that a busway route which forms a closed loop, linking about 3 or 4 residential communities and a B centre, produces optimum efficiency and flexibility of public transportation. Two such loops can be interconnected by means of transfer stops between them which taken together, form a figure-of-eight route, with the crossing point at the A centre. Additional looped routes can similarly be added to the system as the city expands and new communities are developed.

plate7 A network of arterial roads passing outside the residential communities provides a supplementary and supporting urban framework to the busway, without impeding its efficiency. The urban system thus provides a maximum scope for adjustment and refinement, and can be adapted to relate to varying site conditions to form a total urban concept for Dodoma. As illustrated in Plate 7, the total urban concept would accommodate a population of about 350,000 inhabitants, with additional expansion possibilities to 500,000 persons on the same site, and further, long-term expansion possibilities to the east for a total of 1,000,000 residents.

Plate 7 also shows that not only the busway routing, but the entire urban form of the Capital, has been strongly influenced by the location of the area's hills and inselbergs and by Dodoma's existing characteristics. The locations and alignments of Chimwaga, Imagi, Itega and Mlimwa form the framework for the city. They determine the orientation of the axes along which the National Capital Centre is designed, emanating from Mlimwa, Itega and Chimwaga; while the lower slopes of the hills provide the locations for the residential communities.

The Dodoma Hills and their northerly extension to Imagi are the city's principal connector with the surrounding rural areas and will define a great central park, stretching to the southwest from the heart of the National Capital Centre to the hills around Bihawana in the south.

The Hombolo Ridge, with commanding views over Dodoma and the plains beyond, forms the easterly boundary of the Dodoma watershed and therefore the new city. Travellers approaching Dodoma from the east are suddenly presented with the panorama of the Capital when they arrive at the top of the ridge. In the longer-term future, when the city grows beyond the half a million population mark, urbanization will expand into the Ihumwa watershed, separated from the western part of the city by the Hombolo Ridge.

The Hombolo Ridge, because of its prominent position and magnificent views, was selected as the site of the new TANU Party Headquarters and Parliament Buildings. Located in the saddle below Chimwaga, the complex will be clearly visible from most parts of Dodoma and Ihumwa and the major systems of the city's streets and open spaces have been so designed that they offer frequent vistas of the national symbol, as one moves through the Capital. If urban expansion proceeds eastward into Ihumwa, the major road and busway routes between the two parts of the city will pass over this saddle on the Hombolo Ridge beside the TANU-Parliament complex.

The new National Capital Centre or A Centre is located to the south of the railway, between the Imagi-lseni Ridge and the existing town. This location offers ample land area for all the elements of the centre for the foreseeable future. Being adjacent to the existing town, the initial development of the centre is not entirely dependent on the costly and time-consuming construction of new infrastructure alone. At the same time, however, the existing development in this area is sufficiently sparse to permit the National Capital Centre to be designed with a minimum of constraints. The principal visual axes, leading to the focal points formed by the surrounding hills, can be established in the form of processional ways, major arterial roads and pedestrian malls, to create a truly outstanding National Capital Centre.

Almost all new residential development in the Capital will be in the form of distinct residential communities; however, the very first stages of the city's growth will also include an expansion of the existing town of Dodoma, the design of which, while being based on the same principles, cannot take the form of the prototypical residential community because of the current pattern of urbanization. It will essentially consist of a rounding out of the existing town, together with a programme of urban renewal. The expanded town area will eventually accommodate about 70,000 residents, an increase of some 30,000 over the existing population.

All other residential growth will be by means of residential communities, with an average population of 28,000 each. About ten such new communities are expected to have been completed by the turn of the century, resulting in a total population in the Capital of some 350,000.

Beyond that time, an additional four residential communities can be developed in the area west of Imagi, and another two south and southeast of the National Capital Centre, so that the part of the Capital City west of the Hombolo Ridge could eventually have about half a million residents. Any further growth should occur entirely towards the east, into the Ihumwa Valley.

When the city has reached a population size of 350,000, it will have three sub-centres or B centres: the existing downtown of Dodoma with the industrial area to its east; a new centre on Manyoni Road at the extreme northwest of the proposed city; and another new centre towards the northeast on Morogoro Road. Dodoma's existing downtown commercial and industrial areas will be enlarged and improved. They will eventually serve the expanded town, as well as the new residential communities to the southwest and east of the A Centre.

The north-westerly B Centre includes the Capital City's largest industrial park, between Manyoni Road and the railway. It covers an area of about 250 ha and will accommodate most of the city's heavy industry. Due to its downwind location relative to the city, this industrial area should be selected for all industrial operations which emit obnoxious volumes of smoke, odours or dust, so that the prevailing east winds can carry these pollutants away from the residential areas.

The north-east B Centre straddles Morogoro Road and has no railway access to its industrial area. The industries will therefore have to be limited to those which can be served by road transportation only. Moreover, its location on the east side of the city suggests that no industries creating air pollution should be permitted in this centre.

In the longer-term future, if the city should reach a population of some 500,000, two additional B Centres will be developed; one to the southeast of the A Centre, on the Mvumi Road; the other at the southwest end of the city.

As has been mentioned before, the entire Capital City will be served by a busway system consisting of buses running on a paved roadway exclusively used for this purpose and therefore operating with a minimum of interference from other traffic. Different types of buses can be used, in terms of size, design and means of propulsion and the system is considered to have an optimum combination of passenger-carrying capacity, flexibility and economy.

Bus stops will be located at each residential community centre (C Centre), at each B Centre, at several points in the A Centre, at the TANU Headquarters-Parliament Buildings and at intermediate points where the distance between two centres is too great. A busway terminal is located at the A Centre, just east of the relocated railway station and north of the proposed regional bus terminal. This will therefore become Dodoma's principal point of interchange for the local, regional and national transportation systems, linking the Capital with other parts of the country.

To enable busway users to reach the bus stops conveniently and safely, grade-separated pedestrian crossings will be constructed, either under or over the busway, depending on the local terrain.

The city's walkway systems will be designed to lead as directly as possible from the residential areas and work places to the bus stops, to make it easy and attractive for people to use public transportation.

In addition to providing a means of access for people to travel to work and do their shopping, the busway system will be an important social focus for the inhabitants. It will allow quick and easy transportation to all residential communities and indeed to all parts of the city, and it is not unreasonable to expect that rides around the city will become a form of leisure-time recreation. The buses themselves will be meeting places, as will the bus stops, and more particularly, the bus terminals, where people from the city, the region, and the country will meet and mix freely.

Another important factor in the social and recreational design aspects of the concept, is the proximity of the National Stadium, the Exhibition Grounds and the Saba Saba grounds to the main transportation terminals. The accessibility of these people-attracting facilities is important to the general life style and living habits of the Tanzanian people.

Where the busway runs through the residential communities, it tends to physically separate adjacent neighbourhoods, since pedestrians, cyclists and automobiles cannot cross the busway except at under/overpasses and via major collector streets. Walkways and bicycle ways, therefore, run along and on both sides of the busway routes, together forming a strong movement corridor through the communities, to the centres and to adjacent communities.

In addition to the busway, a comprehensive road system will be developed throughout the city. This is seen as complementary to the busway system which is the prime mover of people. Roadways are necessary to provide service to each group of houses in the city. The system's elements range from major arterial roads interconnecting the principal parts of the city and linking the urban area with the region, to collector and local streets and cul-de-sacs in the communities, neighbourhoods and employment areas.

Dodoma lies at the cross-roads of Tanzania's major north-south and east-west trunk highways. These will of course continue to function as the Capital's important links with the region and the nation. However, they will require realignment in the new city to conform with the community and land use structure. A new parkway will be built from the Morogoro Road east of the city, along the Hombolo Ridge to the TANU-Parliarnent complex at Chimwaga; this will give travellers from the east an unequalled view over the city. The Mvumi Road will now become the main entrance to the city from the south.

plate8 By means of the realignment of existing highways, as well as by the construction of new facilities, a system of major arterial roads will

parallel and run between pairs of tiers of residential communities. From these, major collector roads lead to each community centre and then connect to the neighbourhood streets by means of minor collector roads. If and when the city's traffic volumes should increase substantially, an arterial road system can be built along the periphery of the urban area to avoid congestion on the interior arterials.

The importance of the railway, in terms of passenger as well as freight traffic, is expected to increase steadily with the growth of Dodoma. Building supplies, foodstuffs and materials for the city's industries will be shipped in, and manufactured and processed goods will leave the city. The Capital's employment opportunities will almost certainly tend to increase the number of people who commute from the surrounding region by train.

The railway station will be relocated to a site in the A Centre, adjacent to the busway and regional bus terminals, creating a major transportation focus and social gathering point in this area.

The existing Dodoma airport lies directly in the path of imminent urban expansion. This factor, plus its proximity to the present city, demands that it be relocated within the near future. The location for a new airport has been identified some 10 km north of the city and new runways and other facilities should be constructed at an early date. Flight approaches to this new airport will allow fine views of the new Capital nestled in its site, with the Hombolo Hills providing a backdrop, and the inselbergs Mlimwa, Itega and Imagi defining its natural focal points.

Passengers leaving the airport to enter Dodoma will approach from the north along the Arusha Road and will be presented with a similar view, except that it will be from ground level, where the significance of the inselbergs and the Hombolo Hills will be even more appreciated.

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Copyright: Project Planning Associates Limited, Toronto, Canada, directed by Mr. Macklin Hancock and recipient "The Government of Tanzania, Capital Development Authority under the auspices of Mr. George Kahama.".