In the Global North, most measures which strengthen urban cultural heritage focus on preserving historical buildings and structures. In many places in the Global South, however, guidelines for safeguarding urban cultural assets are being developed at a relatively slow rate and are often less than effective. Yet both have something in common; decision-makers in both hemispheres do not adequately account for spatial usage, the demolition or preservation of building substance on everyday life and local communities. The project “Simulizi Mijini” examined this critical point by comparatively studying the urban heritage of Dar es Salam, Tanzania und Berlin using means of urban research, artistic practice and journalism.
Dar es Salam is an extremely fast-growing, largely unregulated metropolitan city, while Berlin is known for a more conservative, institutionalised interpretation of monument conservation. In order to develop a differentiated understanding of the identity- and community-building locations and spaces in these cities, the participants of “Similizi Mijini” focused on investigating and comparing the cities’ immaterial heritage. Applying such methods as oral history, participative cartography and interventions in public space, they aimed to collect orally communicated, urban knowledge and make it available to the public. Urban Studies students, artists and architectural journalists from Germany and Tanzania commuted between both countries in order to conduct these investigations, discuss them at an interdisciplinary level, and later archive and publish them. In this way, they were able to compare and revise the predominant Western values and norms with new perspectives from non-European urban research and art.
The project concluded with a conference and corresponding publication, along with two exhibitions in Berlin and Dar es Salam.
“Simulizi Mijini” was a joint project between the Dar es Salam Centre for Architectural Heritage (DARCH!), the Habitat Unit/TU Berlin, the Nafasi Art Space in Dar es Salam, and the Center for Art and Urban Studies (ZK/U) in Berlin.
Artistic directors: Jan van Esch (TZ), Kaisi Kalambo (TZ), Rachel Lee (DE), Philipp Misselwitz (DE), ZK/U (DE)
Dar Es Salam, Tansania DARCH: April 2017 (exhibition)
Habitat Unit, TU Berlin
Strasse des 17. Juni 152