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Managing Development of a Rapidly Growing African City: a Case of Gaborone, Botswana

Author(s): Branko Cavrić | Marco Keiner

Journal: Geoadria
ISSN 1331-2294

Volume: 11;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 93;
Date: 2006;
Original page

Keywords: sustainable development | urban sprawl | mega-cities | garden city | kotla | urban planning | urban development | land use

Urban development in the last four decades has brought a complete change to the urban image of Gaborone. Its original savannah landscape and surrounding green complexion has changed by cumulative impacts of numerous factors involved in creation of a contemporary settlement, from a small village to the capital city of Botswana. The concept of a "garden city" was introduced immediately after the country gained its independence from the British in 1966. Building on the legacy of "garden city", it was assumed that the "new town" will continue to shape and gain recognition as an urban oasis. However, this was not the case and Gaborone became the fastest growing urban laboratory in Sub-Saharan Africa, portraying intensive diffusion and adoption of imported urban models (WARD, 1999). The spectacular population increase from only 7,000 people in 1966 to almost 200,000 in 2001, and urban sprawling were inevitable. This enlargement was fuelled by rural-urban migration owing to the administrative and economic status of Botswana's new capital, as well as, due to intensive urbanization, industrialization and transportation based on individual car use. Even in the latest city development plan (GoB, 2001) less attention has been paid to the role of green networks and areas, and their contribution to many ecological and societal values. Today, Gaborone is facing the challenge of the typical problems of mega-cities, such as environmental degradation, urban sprawl. The research project DIMSUD is dedicated to identify ways toward sustainable urban development, starting with an analysis of challenges, and continuing with the tasks for urban planning and opportunities for sustainable urban development.
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