Urban land governance in Tanzania: Actors, processes, and local governance

Project Active from to Cities

Dar es Salaam is the most populous city in East Africa and is projected to become a megacity with 10 million inhabitants by 2030. As the city expands demographically and geographically, the pertinence of understanding local government systems and urban land governance processes across the urban zone increases.

This project seeks to address two knowledge gaps in the current literature on Dar es Salaam on urban land governance and local governance systems. Two concept notes will be produced discussing: (a) urban land governance in Dar es Salaam, and (b) the organisational setup of local government in Dar es Salaam. There will be important and productive linkages between the two concept notes.

  • The note on land governance will delineate how residents acquire, own, transfer, and secure rights to land in Dar es Salaam. The study will discuss the processes of land acquisition and land governance, with a clear presentation of the legal framework guiding land governance in urban areas in Tanzania and shedding light on the way land acquisition and governance work in practice.
  • The local governance component will be an organisational diagram presenting the various spheres of local government in Dar es Salaam, taking into account local authorities from street level and up, as well as municipal institutions and city-region authorities. It will also map out the urban governance organs that operate in Dar with a particular focus on the role of the ward and street level authorities in service delivery and key issues such as land governance.

The papers will be informed by fieldwork and a review of available literature and key legislative documents. In addition, key experts on urban land and local governance in Tanzania will be consulted. The research methods employed will be primarily qualitative and will involve individual interviews as well as focus group discussions. The research will cover two distinct areas in Dar es Salaam – the peri-urban area of Kigamboni, as well as the centrally located Mwananyamala and Kijitonyama wards in Kinondoni District. The chosen areas capture the demographic and geographical variations of the city, spanning both formal and informal settlements while also taking into account geographical differences.

The outputs of this project will be useful for developing a fuller understanding of the lived experiences of city dwellers, as well as for providing a knowledge base for observers, such as researchers undertaking urban studies in Tanzania and policymakers engaged in sustainable urban planning and economic development initiatives. The findings from this project may also offer insights to interested stakeholders currently engaged with drafting the new Land Policy for Tanzania.