Gone to ground: A history of environment and infrastructure in Dar es Salaam by Emily Brownell



Dar es Salaam has always held a particular fascination for urbanists and environmentalists alike. In the wake of the monumental publication edited by Bernard Calas, From Dar es Salaam to Bongoland. Urban mutations in Tanzania (Mkuki Na Nyota Publishers, 2010) comes this major contribution by Emily Brownell, a lecturer in Environmental History at the University of Edinburgh. In Gone to ground – A history of environment and infrastructure in Dar es Salaam, Brownell focuses on the central tension between city and countryside to narrate the story of the city’s environment and infrastructure. The title refers to how urbanites settled in the urban periphery to escape the state’s policing of urban space. Brownell’s analysis of the city’s changing landscape during the 1970s and 1980s is also valid for many of South Africa’s populous cities: she chronicles the perpetual transit between city and periphery, the quest for housing, food and transportation. It is a narrative about making do with what is available and about ensuring one’s own survival.


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