The decision to move the capital of Tanzania to Dodoma was made in 1973 by the National Conference of TANU after discussion and voting in all TANU branches. The National Conference accepted the government recommendation that the new city should be carefully planned and that we should aim at transferring the capital to its new locality after ten years. This decision was made after consideration of the comparative costs and inconveniences of different time plans.
It took us quite a long time to come to this decision to build a new capital; the proposal was first discussed in Parliament as long ago as 1961. Now it is vital that we be as careful about our physical planning and about our buildings as we were about making the decision in the first place. For we are a poor country, building a new capital city in a nation committed to the principle of Ujamaa.
We have to build in a manner which is within our means and which reflects our principles of human dignity and equality as well as our aspirations for our development. We have to take advantage of the opportunity to make Dodoma a good place in which to live and work, and to bring up children as good Tanzanians. The town must be integrated as a society as a whole; it must be neither an ivory tower nor a new version of our existing towns. It must draw upon the lessons of other specially built cities throughout the world, but it must not be a copy of any of them. Dodoma must be a town which is built in simple style but with buildings which reflect the light, air, and space of Africa. It must reflect the future and there must be room to grow, but it must not be futuristic in the sense of symbolizing passing and individualistic emotions.
There are two different aspects of planning a new town. One is the designing of the major buildings and houses so that they are functional and at the same time pleasing to the eye separately and as a group. In this respect the government has already made certain basic decisions, especially that there should be maximum use of burnt bricks and clay tiles for building, and that every effort should be made to use local materials and the simple techniques for which we already have Tanzanian fundi and expertise. The instruction that the buildings should conform to the circumstances and needs of Tanzania has other implications also. For example housing must have a low capital and maintenance cost. Public buildings must be designed to serve the people in a socialist society — not forgetting such factors as the need for handicapped people to have access to their offices and their public servants through the existence of ramps, wide doors suitable for wheel chairs, etc.
This Master Plan, however, deals with that aspect of planning which has to come first. That is the aspect which determines what kind of town it is going to be and what kind of community it is going to promote. The Master Plan deals with the layout of the roads, water, education and other public services, and the allocation of different areas to different functions. This Master Plan expresses the decision taken on such matters, and gives a description of the Town Plan as a whole.
I believe this Plan, as it stands, is consistent with the ideology of Tanzania. Two very important examples can be given to show the way that it reflects our philosophy. First, the Plan shows that Dodoma will be built as a series of connected communities, each having a population of about 28,000 people. Within these communities people will be able to cooperate for joint activities of a productive, educational, and social nature while remaining part of the larger town. The second fundamental point about this Master Plan is the way it gives priority to the building up of an efficient public transport service and to the physical movement of people on foot and by bicycle. Private car ownership will become less of an advantage in the new town than it is in places like Dar es Salaam, for many roads and paths will be reserved for buses and bicycles, while inter-city and goods traffic will be confined to major service roads and the railway, by-passing the residential areas.
The Master Plan is the very first stage of the development of a new town. Dodoma does not exist as the new capital yet. But the Master Plan is the foundation on which all other work will rest. The Plan as outlined in this book has now been accepted in principle. It will need the full cooperation of all workers at Dodoma and in the different departments of the Party and Government to ensure that its implementation goes ahead quickly and in a rational manner.
I commend this Master Plan to the people of Tanzania.
Julius K. Nyerere
President of the United Republic of Tanzania