African Design Magazine August 2016 - Page 72

A typical road leading to the centre of Kampala , Uganda by CC-BY 2.0 .

At the time when Uganda was a British protectorate , Kampala , the socalled “ Garden City ”, was masterminded by German urban planner Ernst May for 50 000 inhabitants . He designed a city with centres on each hill surrounded by vast areas of agricultural land . Kampala has experienced exponential population growth since 1970 , from 330 000 to 1.7 million in 2016 , and it is predicted that its population will double in the next 15 years . Kampala has been the destination of hundreds of thousands of refugees , asylum seekers , cross-border migrants ( from South Sudan and D . R . Congo mostly ) and internal migrants . Many of these migrants come to Kampala looking for economic opportunities that are simply not available in other parts of Africa .

The outcomes of swift urbanisation The substandard accommodation in the city that resulted from a lack of governmental policy on housing has led to over 60 % of Kampala ’ s population living in informal settlements , many of them single-storey shacks . The overwhelming amount of new migrants looking for houses in recent year has led to an unprecedented rise in land prices . Inescapable traffic problems and an over polluted environment make life in Kampala problematic for residents , most of whom drive cars that would not meet environmental standards on other continents . The burden placed on the city ’ s congested and strained infrastructures is not lessened by a poor public transportation that has shown very little sign of improvement . The question that then arises is : are migrants staying because they have found what they had hoped or because the alternative is even worse ? For urban poverty to be fully addressed , both public and private sectors need to become more socially-intervening actors .

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