Garden City Planning in Lusaka, Zambia

Lusaka, Zambia is an interesting example of the intersection between urban planning, public health, and colonial power building. What began as a small copper mining camp in Northern Rhodesia became a unique example of an intricately planned capital garden city in sub-Saharan Africa. In 1931, colonial authorities invited Stanley D. Adshead, Professor of Town and Country Planning at the University of London, to design a plan for the new capital of Northern Rhodesia. Adshead was particularly fascinated by Ebenezer Howard’s theory of the Garden City. This plan (rather abstract) for a city was meant to offer the advantages of both rural, urban and peri-urban life while ensuring the health and happiness of its inhabitants. Given the dearth of physically implemented garden cities in the world, Adshead saw Lusaka as the perfect opportunity to give it a go. While the plan was not implemented in its entirety, it was successful in segregating European and African communities, while offering very little in the form of economic activities. Its sole purposes were for housing European officials in comfortable and healthy living arrangements, while denying even the existence of an African population. This divide can be seen from above even today and is accentuated by the greater amount of green space in the formerly European area.

Sources: Njoh, Ambe J. (2007) Planning Power: Town planning and social control in colonial Africa. London, UK. University College London Press.

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