THE ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER OF STONE TOWN ZANZIBAR WATERFRONT

1.0 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
A majority of the world’s greatest cities sprung up and developed along the water edges. With
the decline if post industrial cities, the concept of waterfront development become widespread
by introducing major problems, challenges and also opportunities for urban areas. Consequently,
waterfronts have become significant to the urban environment as they have great potential to attract
investment and stem declining local economies. Today, many waterfront cities throughout the globe
are embracing the idea of bringing water back to their cities by creating high quality developments
with a vibrant mix of activities. Against this background,waterfronts have become a primary scene
for experimentation in architecture, planning and urban governance by allowing cities to restore their
identities, reinforce a sense of place and satisfy the conditions of post-modernity. However, this may
also result in alien developments, isolated by being at the edge of a city.
In the case of Stone Town,Zanzibar the waterfront is where the life if the city begins. Stone Towns
oldest and most prominent buildings: the Sultans Palace and the Old Fort, Forodhani gardens, the port,
mansions previously owned by the sultans family and Indian bazaars characterize the waterfront. Since
the 1800s, under the control of the Omani, the waterfront has been a hive of activity supporting spice
and slave trade. However in 1873 a treaty between the Omani and the British was signed agreeing to
cease slave trade. The treaty was respected but did not affect other commodities on the market. The
trade led to the multicultural influences by Europeans, Arabs and Indians that reflect in the town’s
architecture and religion. Stone Town retains an outstanding historical significance hence seeking the
attention of many scholars. UNESCO even declared Stone Town a world heritage site. However the
waterfront seeks a unique urban character. This can be accomplished by appreciating the concept of
continuity and change. The concept can not only be a guideline to embracing contemporary waterfront
design measures that discourage considering the waterfront as a line but also appreciating the history
aspect that’s been conserved.
Today the Stone Town waterfront is one of Zanzibar’s gateways for commerce and tourism. This is in
line with Siravo’s plan where the seafront was earmarked as an action area requiring comprehensive
planning. The vision was to appreciate the potential of the seafront by merging history and culture
with sustainability. This goal is achievable by solving the problems along the seafront to provide a
green, public, smart-working, connected and liveable waterfront. This will lead to the waterfront
being the town’s major social, cultural and recreational amenity.

Calendar

«  
  »
M T W T F S S
 
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
9
 
10
 
11
 
12
 
13
 
14
 
15
 
16
 
17
 
18
 
19
 
20
 
21
 
22
 
23
 
24
 
25
 
26
 
27
 
28
 
29
 
30
 
31