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Households’ and Community Initiatives Towards City Resilience: The Case of Flood Resilience in Dar es Salaam.


Year published: 2021
Categories: Book Chapter

Author / Authors:

  • Genet Alem
  • Ally Hassan Namangaya


In Giuseppe Faldi, Axel Fisher, Luisa Moretto (eds.) African Cities Through Local Eyes: Experiments in Place-Based Planning and Design. SPRINGER, The Urban Book Series. Cham: SPRINGER
Doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-84906-1_12


Among regions in the Global South, Africa’s urbanisation is unique. The reason is that its socio-economic development lags behind the level and speed of urbanisation. Urban management capacity remains at a rudimentary level and is incapable of providing an affordable infrastructure or managing natural disaster-related risks. Facing the simultaneous challenges of the growing set of urban problems and the incapacity of urban administrations, urban dwellers attempt to fill in the servicing gaps by developing and executing adaptation strategies at households and community levels. These household and community initiatives have multifaceted relationships with citywide resilience projects. The chapter examines the potential and limitations of households and community adaptation initiatives towards informing and increasing city resilience in the context of resource deficiency. The study is an empirical examination of planning practices and copying strategies for flood disasters in Dar es Salaam. The result shows that available resources at the grassroots level are invested in correcting misguided development strategies incited by city administrations. Hence, households are bearing the costs associated with flooding disasters, which could be avoided if planning considered resilience issues. The households’ initiatives focus on plot- or street-level measures, which often transfer problems from one plot or block to the other. Therefore, while the initiatives facilitate resource mobilisation, assets protection, and awareness creations, they do not offer a systemic outlook. The study recommends supporting street- or community-level institutions in coordinating the households’ initiatives and building their capacity to comprehend the systemic implications to disaster risk management.

Keywords: Urban resilience, Local institutions, Urban floods, Dar es Salaam, Households’ adaptation


  • Book Chapter