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Co-creating strategic eco-tourism projects to promote sustainable waterfront development in Dar es Salaam and Kigoma


A common theme to explore in ARU and Hasselt University by means of ‘research and development by design’ was found in the country strategy for Tanzania as defined by VLIR-UOS: eco-tourism. Tourism is of major importance in the future economic growth of Tanzania. At the same time, rapid developments focussing on quick economic profit threaten the environment, both natural ecosystems and socio-economic urban ecosystems. Urban settlements along the shores are growing rapidly and their infrastructure does not suffice to cope with this rapid growth. This results in poor urban develop-ment and pollution that puts pressure on valuable land and water eco-systems that are vital for the livelihood of the coastal population. Coastal areas near large cities such as Dar Es Salaam near the Indian Ocean, or Kigoma at the Lake Tanganyika are at the border of both natural and urban eco-systems. Current water front development is uncoordinated, reflecting the lack of long term environmental vision, policy and guidelines to protect the waterfront. Urban sprawl threatens natural coastal landscapes and vegetation, and contributes to pollution of both land and water eco-systems. To initiate sustainable change in these problematic environments, research, design and development of strategic projects for eco-tourism is needed. Indeed, master plans and designs for innovative sustainable coastal tourism or ‘blue tourism’ (activities promoting community based nature and urban (heritage) tourism, environmental education and conservation of natural and urban ecosystems), are instruments of vital importance in policy making (rules) and economic development (investment). Hence a first specific objective of this project is to inform stakeholders in spatial planning about co-created strategic eco-tourism projects to promote sustainable urban waterfront development. By designing, implementing and analysing the results of strategic projects, knowledge is created that is useful for further developmental projects. A second specific objective of this project is to build capacity on ‘research and development by design’ at ARU in order to strengthen academic quality and take advantage of the creative capital in the design studio in favour of sustainable urban development. To achieve these objectives, two parallel projects are set up. The main project concerns common design studios on waterfront development and strategic eco-tourism projects in Dar Es Salaam (a). The second, smaller project involves the installation of a board of advice to support the realization of a community based eco-tourism project in Kigoma (b). These two projects lead to 4 intermediate results: ‘master plans’ or regional plans for sustainable waterfront development in Dar Es Salaam (1), designs of strategic eco-tourism projects within these master plans and installation of the ‘research by design’ methodology in the curriculum (2), an active network to disseminate research results and a board of advice to support the realization of strategic eco-tourism projects (3) and aggregate reporting on the realization of a strategic eco-tourism project in Kigoma and its implementation in the curriculum (4). To achieve these results, site visits are needed from the UHasselt team to Tanzania at 3 points in time: at the start of the project in order to prepare the work in the design studios in Dar Es Salaam, and in order to have a start-up meeting in Kigoma. At the end of year one, a second visit is planned to evaluate the state of achievement of the results. A third visit is necessary at the end of year two to support the dissemination of both project results at the symposium in Dar Es Salaam. During these short stays meetings, lectures, site visits and field work will be planned to support the main actions. In year one, students from Belgium and Tanzania will produce design output in master plan and stra-tegic project design studios. Moreover, one student from ARU will receive a scholarship to come to Hasselt University to learn the ‘research by design’ methodology in the master exchange program (10 months, 60 ECTS). E-mail, Skype and videoconferencing will be used to gear approaches and results in Tanzania and Belgium. In year two, graduating master students will analyse and report design studio output in MSc theses in the light of the final symposium. The project in Kigoma will be executed by researchers and staff, and by at least 1 MSc theses student.

Intervention type

South Initiatives


01/08/2014 - 31/07/2016

This project is being implemented in:
Local promoter Livin Henry Mosha
Flemish promoter Rob Cuyvers
Local partner institution Universiteit Hasselt
visit www.uhasselt.be
Local partner institution Ardhi University
visit https://aru.ac.tz/
Budget € 74.920