Final presentations!

Today we had our final presentations. All the groups had really made the effort to make their presentations nice and interesting for the listeners. The day went well!

We had been working on our presentation for the previous week. In our presentation we had decided to concentrate only on the scenarios, not on the background study we had done. To bring the scenarios to life we wanted to act the stories ourselves. After (long and multistage) castings we settled that Merete would play the role of Abdallah (the dad), Mathilde the one of Mariam (the mom), Hanna T. the one of Mwilu (the Daughter) and Hanna K. the one of Emmanuel, the urban planner. Maria, who was still working from Colombia, had recorded the introductions to the current situation and the scenarios, having the role of a narrative voice.

We received some good comments from the other groups and teachers. It was helpful that professor Olli Varis, Emma Palonen (who had helped us a lot to make the scenario family credible) and outsider professionals were also present. There was good discussion about how are we going to continue, and people especially raised the question of how are we going to be able to communicate the same liveliness we had in our presentation to our contacts in Dar es Salaam. Right now we are thinking about printing and sending our report to our contacts when we get it finalized, but we also need to consider re-acting and filming our presentation if we think it would contribute in mediating our work.

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Report draft

Today we have submitted the report draft. Next Monday the 12th we will have the final presentation and at the same time we will collect the last feedback from all the tutors and keep working on the report until the end of May.

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Scenario Building Workshop

After our project clinic we further developed our scenarios, starting with thinking about the things that would have led to the different population growth possibilities. We also had a meeting with our tutor Taru. We had also sent the first version of our example family to Emma. We met with her again, since she had some good feedback and comments for us about it.

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Yesterday we had a long scenario building workshop day with our group. We started with reminding ourselves what was the overall objective of our project: to contribute in Dar es Salaam becoming an integrated and sustainable city. The task of our scenarios will be to help in that decision making by mapping out some of the challenges the city might face in the future.

First we listed different factors that might be relevant for our scenarios. We tried to consider all different point of views: economical, social, demographical, environmental, technological, institutional, and . We roughly ranked these factors according to the impact they might have on the city and their level of uncertainty. The point of this was to find the most important factors that we should address in our scenarios. Because urban planners are usually already taking into consideration the issues that are certain and have a high impact on the city, the task of the scenarios is to map out the various uncertain possibilities and challenges the city might face. So the most important factors for the scenarios are the ones that are uncertain and have a high impact on the city.

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Our ranking method, still in the process

We had already decided before to take population growth as a main variable for our scenarios, but after this exercise we are considering about also taking climate change as the other one, since these are both factors that are highly uncertain but at the same time have a very big impact on the city. We think that great climate change effects (heavy rains, draughts, floods, sea level rise) would have a negative effect on the city’s population growth, so we decided to further develop two scenarios: one with a low population growth but major climate change effects, and one with great population growth but very minor or nonexistent effects of climate change. Before we had considered having a third scenario with medium population growth, but came to the conclusion that it would be not interesting to do a scenario where the population growth would continue as expected, since the task of the scenarios is to prepare planners for the unexpected; to “think the unthinkable”.

We are going to take into consideration in both of our scenarios the rest of the different factors we think are uncertain but would have a high impact on the city, such as implementation and formalization rates, among other things.

We further brainstormed on the scenarios, and came up with two sets of overall guidelines that would make Dar es Salaam a sustainable and integrated city in the two different environments.

Our group member Maria was present during the whole meeting via Skype, which was pretty awesome since it was really early in Bogotá! Next monday we are going to deliver the draft version of our report to our tutors, and we are looking forward to hear their feedback.

Project Clinic and further working

After the mid-review we had a chance to meet Emma Palonen, a Tanzanian woman working in Finland for Aalto Global Impact, at her work place at the Aalto School of Business. We had already met her for the first time before our field trip, when she gave us all an introduction to Tanzanian culture, and she was also at our mid-review presentation to give us feedback. We needed to get information and inspiration for the profile our Tandale family that we will use to put life into our scenarios. As Emma has been born and raised Dar es Salaam, we got a lot of useful information from Emma about the daily life in Tandale, which was very important since we didn’t have enough time to spend there during our field trip. As most of the young people moving to Dar es Salaam nowadays, our young couple will probably start a small business in reselling second hand clothes that arrive at the city harbor.

We have now less than three weeks left until the delivery of the report draft. The analysis part is now mostly done and we are focusing on developing the scenarios. Last monday we had a project clinic with all the teachers (6!). They emphasized the fact that our scenarios and the story of the example family should be the main and first part in our report, to make the final work as interesting and appealing as possible. We also need to think of a catchy name for the report. In addition, we would like to illustrate it in both a graphical way (drawings an pictures) and in an “acting” way (for the final presentation in mid-May).

We also had again a Skype-meeting with out group member Maria. For the final presentation, she could maybe be the narrative voice recorded from Colombia, to go through the all presentation time. And the rest four of us, in Helsinki, will embody the future of Dar es Salaam!

Back in Finland

Illustration by Sarah Markes

Illustration by Sarah Markes

The day after the presentation was the last day of our trip, and after that we all came back to Finland different ways, some of us still staying in Tanzania for a while to go on a safari. We had mixed feelings about the field trip ending – on one hand we would have wanted to stay and continue working there (because there is never enough time) and on the other hand it was also nice to go back home. What is sure is that we were all exhausted after the trip, not only because we had had a tight schedule and had been working full days, but also because everything was so new and strange to us, which was mentally straining at times. But even though we were all tired after the trip, it was truly an eye-opening experience, and we got information and knowledge we could have never obtained by just working from Finland. It was a great trip!

We managed to get loads of information while in Dar es Salaam: reports, research results, information about current projects. The trip was definitely successful in thosw terms – we weren’t really expecting people to be so helpful and interested in our project. On top of scientific data we also have now a good overall picture of how the inhabitants of Dar see their city and what would they want to improve in it, but also what do they appreciate in it.

Now that the information gathering -phase is done (so to speak), we have to tackle other issues. We have still been deepening our analysis of the city, it is an important part of our work as it has to form a solid base for our scenarios. We also started some initial work on the scenarios. Since according our experience and the knowledge we gathered during our field trip the biggest challenge Dar es Salaam is facing is rapid and uncontrolled population growth, we decided to take that as the main variable of our scenarios, sort of the first thing that determines the future path. We are probably going to generate three different scenarios – on with mild, one with medium, and one with massive population growth. Since it is always hard and almost impossible to predict the future, the purpose of the scenarios is to map out the main challenges that the city would face in each of these alternative situations.

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We also had a mid-review on monday this week. All the groups presented their work so far, and especially what will be their next steps. The presentations were done in Pecha Kucha style, 20 slides 20 seconds each, so very short and compact. Professor Olli Varis was also present, and he gave us some useful feedback and comments thinking about the future. He was especially interested about what had we learnt so far, and when telling him that one thing we definitely had learnt was how much these kind of projects are about networking and finding the right contacts, he had a good point that after all we are always working with other people, no matter what. All in all the it was great to see in the mid-review how the field trip had helped all the groups to find their focus, and even if some of us had been to different countries (one group went to Mozambique and an other one to South Africa) we all had had some of the same realizations and experiences on the field.

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So since we came back to Finland we have been meeting with our group and our tutor Taru for the past few weeks. We will also be testing ways of remote-working, since unfortunately one of our group members, Maria, had to go back to Columbia, and probably won’t be coming back before the end of the project. But she is continuing to work from her home in Bogota, and wednesday we had a skype meeting with her, which worked very well and we were able to divide tasks for us all.

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Presentation day

Today was the presentation day and a heavy rain day. We gathered in Arhdi University, where we had been already twice before (yesterday half of our group met there with Mr Kyessi, teacher from the urban planning department). The three student groups, people from CCI, the three communities, our translators and the people teachers had invited were there.

We went through the work we had done in Finland and the most important things we learned during the field trip. We had mapped the places we had visited in Dar es Salaam to the aerial picture of the city and on another poster we had listed the dreams we had collected from all the different people we had met. We also presented some of the valuable things in Dar es Salaam that we wanted to keep for the future scenarios.

The presentation went well, and after it we met Dr. Lekule from the urban planning department of Ardhi University. He gave us (and to four swedish landscape architecture students) a lecture about urban development of Dar es Salaam.

One of the most interesting, and disturbing suggested plans he showed us was the plan for Kigamboni, the area where we are staying in. At the moment Kigamboni is very green, sympathetic and not so densely populated. The suggested plan (not official) showed Kigamboni as a very different looking place with skyscrapers and highways. There was many positive things too for the future considering conserving the city center, developing the planned city and forming a metropolitan authority.IMG_5787

The City Council

This morning we were lucky enough to have a meeting with Cornelius Barnabas from the City Council, since he had had to cancel our last meeting. We met early in the morning at his office at the City Council building that is centrally located by the sea at Sokoine Drive.

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Mr. Barnabas was very helpful, he told us about the projects that the city council has been involved with, especially those that included improving informal settlements. It was interesting to hear that at least in one project where some houses had to be demolished because of the building of a new better road, also the tenants, not only the house owners, were somehow compensated. Barnabas also explained us how the city council implements participatory planning by forming smaller community planning teams (CPT’s) that take part in the discussion during the planning process. All in all Mr. Barnabas sounded very positive about urban planning in Dar es Salaam, still acknowledging its challenges.

Since our meeting was already at 7:30 am we didn’t have time to have breakfast before it, so after it was over we went to have some from a street vendor. We ate fresh vitumboas, traditional deep fried buns made of rice flour and coconut. With them we drank some typical cardamom tea.

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After enjoying breakfast on the street side we decided to visit the Mzizima fish market, which we have walked past daily when coming out of the Kigamboni ferry on the city side. The market was bustling and we saw a lot of trading taking place. We could also witness the wooden fishing boats coming ashore and unloading cargo.

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The rest of the day we stayed at our accommodation in Mikadi to plan our presentation for the following day. We went through all the people we had met during our trip and the information we had received from them, and made three posters illustrating our work during these past two weeks.