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The Garden City's Effect on Present-Day Lusaka

Updated: 11 hours ago

Lusaka is arguably, now the coolest kid on the block. Botanical gardens, arboretums and wildlife are becoming Lusaka's key tourism attractions. Our metropolis has advanced significantly, boasting a varied economy encompassing the manufacturing of shoes, textiles, and cement in addition to food processing and agricultural goods, which has heightened trust among investors.


Is easy access to nature still a fundamental component of Urban Planner, Ebenezer Howard's initial plan for a garden city?


Cairo Road in Lusaka.
Cairo Road in Lusaka with it's central avenue of mature trees. Photo Credit David Brown

Well, according to our history, Northern Rhodesia adopted Lusaka, a former Soli state, as its capital in 1935. 88 years later, garden city principles were also incorporated into Lusaka's city design, which called for the widespread planting of trees and other plants.


Some scholars have argued that this garden concept apparently legitimizes and idolizes land misuse. Supporters of garden cities aim to steer clear of congested, inadequate dwellings. Not so now, as there is a scramble for land. The majority residents of Lusaka (urban dwellers) live in the aforementioned "compound" slums, which are devoid of basic amenities like drainage and sanitary facilities.



Jacaranda along Burma Road giving shade to some makeshift shops.
Jacaranda along Burma Road giving shade to some makeshift shops. Photo Credit David Brown


The Lusaka City Council (LCC) started a Garden City Project to provide a green space in keeping with the local authority's initial Green City Concept in collaboration with a number of stakeholders for Zambia's 50th birthday.


In keeping with the "Garden City Concept," the local government has implemented a number of initiatives to improve road safety, mobility, and the environment. In addition to constructing new double-carriageway roadways and renovating existing structures to avoid paying for water billing, the council has dug four boreholes: two near the Civic Center, one at the Kabulonga roundabout, and one at the intersection of Nyerere Road.


Traffic along Burma Road.
Traffic Along Burma Rd. Photo Credit David Brown

In order to enhance pedestrian safety and the city's aesthetics, they are also planting trees and building sidewalks along President's Lane and Los Angeles Boulevard.


These projects are anticipated to be expanded throughout the entire city. The government can still do more to revive the concept of garden cities by releasing regulations that allow even the poorest Zambians to make use of their sparse natural spaces while also taking into consideration the challenges of contemporary life.


Bringing back one of the eccentricities of old British rule, domestic quarters, which were first implemented for the convenience of both employers and employees, can help close the nation's large housing disparity. People build shacks because of the ever-rising cost of rent and haphazard land ownership arrangements. Back then, all of the colonial administration's homes had advantageous domestic quarters.


Lastly, establishing a long-term cooperative connection between slum residents and the local authorities to build an inclusive city with better council housing.

What's left of our commercial land should remain exclusive if the majority of it needs to be kept as green space.


SOURCES

1 Scott Beyer Lusaka and the Failure of the “Garden City” June 12, 2023

3. Mwebantu 29 July 2014 · SHORT HISTORY OF LUSAKA

4. source- Baseline assessment for Lusaka – prepared for FRACTAL

7. Wade, E. (2014, November 03). Lusaka, Zambia (1913- ). BlackPast.org.

1913/

8. ‘Lusaka: The heart of Zambia’ April 23, 2019 Redscarab

9. ‘Africa: Congo truce confirms Lusaka as Africa's 'City of Peace' 13 JULY 1999

10. The Times of Zambia (Ndola) Shapi Shacinda


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