Urban dwellers are currently grappling with all manner of problems, including an acute shortage of decent housing, spiralling crime, congestion on the roads, lack of clean and safe water and inadequate or crumbling infrastructure. This, to a large extent, is the result of poor urban planning.
Dar es Salaam is a good example of the effects and impact of sloppy planning over the years. The city is now synonymous with unplanned development, with sub-standard dwellings sprouting up in their hundreds in unauthorised areas. Vast areas of the city have been transformed into slums and it seems that the authorities gave up a long time ago.
The traffic situation is another nightmare, and it is not uncommon for one to spend hours on the road for trips that should normally take a few minutes.
The situation in Dar es Salaam is representative of what is happening in other rapidly expanding cities such as Arusha, Mbeya, Mwanza and Tanga. We shudder to think what the situation will be like in, say, 50 years if adequate measures are not taken now to keep up with the rapid population growth.