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DAB525 - Ziguinchor Presentation (Africa)

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Alex Bowering

on 1 June 2014

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Transcript of DAB525 - Ziguinchor Presentation (Africa)

The continent of Africa is so geographically, climactically and culturally diverse, that critical analysis and investigation must be site specific. The contemporary condition and structure of nation states is a product of complex and multifaceted historical conditions; specifically, the effects of European colonial history and the creation of nation states from tribal principalities. The resultant political, societal, national, economic and geographical aspects have determined and continued to maintain a rich and multifarious composite.
As the capital and second largest city in Senegal, Ziguinchor lies at the mouth of the Casamance River and undoubtedly reflects these intricacies. Ziguinchor sustains a current population of 230,000 people – rendering it a melting pot of ethnicities (tribal; national; international) coexisting in the urban environment.
melting pot
This cultural diversity clearly has substantial ramifications on many aspects of the urban form and environment. The foremost cultural influences began with. . . .
Prior to the Portuguese and French colonisation, the area that is now occupied by Ziguinchor consisted of self-sufficient agrarian tribal villages lacking major infrastructure in the form of a city construct, instead centering on the cultivation and harvesting of rice.
The arrival of Portuguese slave traders to the Senegal estuary was the catalyst for the use of the area around modern day Ziguinchor as a trading and agricultural hub. The foremost influences on the city and societal construct imposed by the Portuguese include:
Increased trade activity and industry to devise an archetype of Portugal. This dramatically influenced the city construct, particularly pertaining to infrastructure, employment, wealth of citizens, international cultural influences, neighbouring connections and relationships and the migration of citizens to, and subsequent inhabitation of, the river’s edge, city centre, and areas on the periphery of agricultural land.
Construction of “Portuguese” style architecture: rectangular structures with white washed exteriors and a vestibule or porch. The porches allowed for and facilitated trading and exchange of merchandise. The Portuguese were deemed to be the models of decadence, yet they introduced refined building techniques to the Africans. This architecture is a historical indicator of the interactions that occurred between Africans, Europeans and West Atlantics along the trade routes of Luso-African cities.
With the ascendancy of French colonialism in the Casamance, the Portuguese community in Ziguinchor was defined out of existence. Very little Portuguese influence can be seen in contemporary Ziguinchor.
Ziguinchor was officially founded in 1645 by the Portuguese, only later to be bought by the French in 1888, who made it into the capital of the Casamance at the beginning of the 20th century. At that time there were no more than 700 inhabitants, of whom about fifty were French.
By the late 1800s French rule was established in Ziguinchor despite resistance from Portuguese traders and remaining villagers. The foremost influences imposed by the French include:
The cultivation of ground nuts (cashews, peanuts) rather than endemic rice fields as a major trade industry; this was largely due to the French colony of Indochina already being a major global exporter of rice. This change in cropping resulted in increased industrial construction, change in water use and systems, increased urban density due to migration from rural cultivating rice paddies and established market centres due to increased food production.
A planned grid layout with radial specificities, distinctly expressed in the central roundabout which connects servicing arterial road networks. This can most easily be seen on the scale model. The French influence on city grid layout is made further distinct due to the existing French named streets. Prior to French influence, the city operated as an organic layout.
The introduction of a formal grid layout resulted in planned urban neighbourhood blocks with rectilinear housing forms.
Higher central city density around the introduction of governmental buildings, few of which remain today.
Postcolonial Ziguinchor has seen a return to traditional building practices, materials and construction methods, despite still being under French and British rule. This is most clearly reflected in the re-emergence of organic city planning, recurrent residential building typologies and informal mobility networks.
Local building materials used for the traditional recurrent building typologies include rammed earth (atakpame), corrugated iron and wooden louvered windows. Africans do not uphold the same values towards architecture in that it signifies a high level of cultural achievement and power as Europeans do – indicating a reason for the limited variance of building typologies across the city post French rule.
The average diurnal temperature variation in Ziguinchor is extremely limited over the year (approximately 5.2 degrees of the maximum and minimum range). Therefore, passive design systems in buildings would only have to be designed for this moderately hot, humid climate. The abundant yearly rainfall in the months of June – October (1,200mm on average), including violent thunderstorms, influences the design of buildings.
The functional and morphological maps indicate this recurrent building typology. Another underlying reason as to the limited variance of building form is, as can be seen in the model, the predominately flat geography of Ziguinchor – with the highest peak reaching a mere 12m. This landscape is also optimal for a planned geometric city grid layout.
functional & morphological maps
It is evident that urbanisation and decentralisation has created a city planned and built on the assumption that people require land for agricultural purposes and development. Cities such as this are characterised by functional separation of land uses. An example of this is the informal settlements and shantytowns that take root on the urban fringe that house the agricultural workers. The maps also illustrate that the main commercial, industrial and governmental buildings are predominately located on a raised ground contour. It can be asserted that this is to elevate the important buildings from the flooding that frequents Ziguinchor as well as signify power.
The map indicates the distinct city boundaries, or edges, one of Kevin Lynch’s Elements. While not physical in construction, the city is being flanked on three sides by natural flood plains, water ways and tributaries. This limits suitable soil for construction and restricts land use, essentially constraining the city.
17th Century
Portuguese settle along the river, providing access to transportation of goods and people.

This area would have included civic, administrative, trade/processing and housing on a linear grid, surrounded by agricultural land.
Buildings would have reflected the colonial typology (masonry, white wash, terracotta roof tiles).

18-19th Century
Growth of the colony under French rule necessitates expansion.
Typical French street patterns emerge: linear grid; radial roads converging to significant locations.

Early 20th Century
City spreads further west as the population increases. Still an orderly grid pattern (colonial influence), however density varies as agricultural land is in filled with housing. Catholic Missions are established in the outer lying areas.

Informal pedestrian paths much like these, are not distinct, logical transportation networks. Instead, they have developed out of necessity and efficiency. This is reminiscent of agrarian cultures and is reflected in the hierarchy of the cities mobility network.

The rivers relationship with the city is a dynamic and significant mobility element. The Ziguinchor port underpins and enhances its food trade industry. The river crossing just east to the city enhances Ziguinchor’s connection to the surrounding regions, facilitating trade and exchange. The locality of commercial and industrial zoning to these major mobility networks also indicates its role in the trade industry.

The main servicing arterial roads are paved and maintained due to the amount of heavy traffic flow, which is obvious due to the depot and bus station to the east of the central roundabout, that utilise the roads. These major routes run from neighbouring cities through Ziguinchor to the port which is efficient for the transport of food goods for trade.

forma urbis
historical analysis
mobility analysis
Large scale civil unrest, fuelled by violent claims for independence, caused major displacement and destruction across the city.
The National Lands Act of 1964, the Urbanisation Policy and various other urban land regulations have, as their aim, the integration of the progressive and provisional arrangements of settlements in a general policy of economic development and social progress. Aimed at rural development, the laws were imposed to restructure the spontaneous settlements which were starting in Ziguinchor in the 1970’s.

Due to the imposing of the National Lands Act after the Second World War, Ziguinchor became one of the most rapidly growing towns of Senegal. This sudden, large-scale, unplanned movement of people into Ziguinchor, coupled with the poor economic state of the region, has stretched normal socio-economic structures and resources beyond their capacity. This resulted in high urban density 'slums' that are prominent throughout Ziguinchor. The soaring levels of urbanisation driven by this migration of urban poor causes infrastructural challenges, accounting for the high level of construction evident; indicating population stresses.

Urbanisation in Ziguinchor has been intensified by the centripetal immigration of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Conflict between Casamance separatists, Mouvement des forces démocratiques de Casamance and the Senegalese government, started in 1982 and intensified from 1998. The conflict has resulted in 50,000 IDPs; an estimated 14,000 IDPs arrived in Ziguinchor in 2001 alone. This centripetal relocation has placed considerable pressure on Ziguinchor’s resources, opportunities for stable employment, and resulted in urban land conflicts and unrest.
This connection was also enhanced in the 1950s when the Transgambian Highway was completed, linking Casamance to Dakar. This major arterial road facilitated increased trade, urbanisation as rural villagers had increased access to Ziguinchor and heightened cultural influence and variance in the form of art, architecture, construction methods and form.

The current underdevelopment of Ziguinchor places unconscionable pressure on the traffic infrastructure. While access to cars and motorised transport are, currently, limited with the great majority of inhabitants having no access to cars or motorcycles – it will increase gradually. The public transport is weakly developed, expensive, slow and limited which subsequently results in walking or bicycling being a traditional mobility for the population, contributing to the number of informal paths.

mobility analysis
The rapid rise in the urban populations of developing countries is the catalyst for many problems and challenges. The lack of adequate housing in Ziguinchor has resulted in the spread of large informal urban areas that are densely populated, poorly constructed and lack services, infrastructure and sanitation. The pressure on the city has lead to the overpopulation of existing housing areas, which has increased demand on already strained utilities, infrastructure, traffic systems and public space.
Whilst there is considerable rural space for potential occupancy, this land is state owned for food production as it is one of few stable economic sources, subsequently resulting in a high density city centre.

The relocation of villagers also impact on the design form, decoration, function and construction of buildings considerably as new beliefs and traditions have been integrated. However, urbanisation driven by migration of villages is a phenomenon experienced throughout Africa. This social and infrastructural influences compound as a vicious cycle leading to the entrenchment of informal settlements and poverty as the issues become increasingly complex for the nation. As a result, land disputes have led to exceptional social and political tension.
Cultivating land occupies the boundaries of the city due to utilisation of natural water retrieved from flood plains and creeks. The river’s edge has not been extensively developed due to the existing wet lands and plains as well as frequent flooding. The lack of marinas, docks and piers can also be attributed to this flooding.
mobility analysis
As is evident, it is increasingly difficult to analyse just one facet of an urban environment without delving into various other interconnected influences and resultants. This indicates that every city, developed or not, expresses fascinating individual urban characteristics.
Origins of displaced persons occupying Ziguinchor
Ziguinchor production center for ground nuts

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However, these roads are opposed to the residential servicing networks which, due to the limited availability of infrastructure, construction knowledge and money, are unpaved. Another reason for the unpaved roads, and lack of water drainage systems, is attributed to the constant flooding, rendering it unfeasible to continually repair and replace road infrastructure.
functional analysis
morphological analysis
Portuguese style architecture
Population over time.
Typical Urban Street in Ziguinchor
Religious Architecture
Recent residential building typology
Building under construction

Mid 20th Century
Population growth pushes east of the old French city. We may assume expansion didn't continue west due this area experiencing seasonal flooding.

TransGambian Highway (N4) is constructed in 1950s providing direct access from Ziguinchor to the capital Dakar. Shanty housing clusters along the N4 as the city continues to urbanise.

Late 20th Century
Population grows as IDPs from the civil conflict converge on the city. Development is unplanned and has few services or infrastructure.

21st Century
The periphery continues to expand, and housing encroaches on agricultural land. The density of previously settled areas increases as the city struggles to maintain services and infrastructure.
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