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The East African : March 3rd 2014
The EastAfrican MAGAZINE MARCH 1-7,2014 VII Above, before: The old building at Entebbe Road at Nakasero before it was demolished to build Corner House. Left, after: The new Corner House at Nakasero. Pictures: Morgan Mbabazi he observes. He is hopeful that Kampala will discover the advantages of proper planning for its citizens and future generations. “Averono demonstrates clearly histo≥y Before the arrival of British, the Kabaka of Buganda had chosen the zone that would become Kampala as a hunting reserve. The area, comprising rolling hills and humid zones, was home to several species of antelope, particularly impala. When the British arrived they called the area “Hills of the Impala.” The Buganda translated “Hills of the Impala” as Kasozi ka Empala — Kasozi meaning “hill”, ka meaning “of” and empala meaning “impala,” pronounced together as a single word: Kaampala. Kampala is said to be built on seven hills. The first hill in historical importance is Kasubi Hill, which is where the Kasubi Tombs of the previous Kabakas are housed. The second is Mengo Hill where the present Lubiri (Kabaka’s Palace) is and the Headquarters of the Buganda Court of Justice and of the Lukiiko, Bugand’s Parliament (Bulange). The third is Kibuli Hill, which is home to the Kibuli Mosque. The fourth is Namirembe Hill, home to the Namirembe Anglican Cathedral. The fifth is Lubaga Hill, where the Rubaga Catholic Cathedral is, and was the headquarters of the White Fathers. The sixth Nsambya Hill, was the headquarters of the Mill Hill Mission. The seventh is Kampala Hill, meaning “the hill of the impala.” the importance of documenting the shifting sands of eco-developmental and eco-cultural heritage geography of our dynamic urban centres, and Kampala city is the dominant case-specific reference area. Instantly, this photographic essay makes us recall the historical, geographical, demographic socio-cultural, political and economic circumstances and processes that have moulded modern Kampala,” Birabi writes in his article titled Architecture and Environment. Kampala’s surviving built her- itage represents history through the classical and neo-classical architecture of 1910-1940, the early modern of 1940-1960, and the architecture with responsive geometry of 1960-1980, Birabi observes. “However, with the mounting contemporary pressures of modernisation and globalisation, a number of original structures of those architectural epochs have been neglected, defaced, desecrated, degraded or demolished,” he adds. “While glass buildings may ap- pear to symbolise prosperity, it is little known among Kampalans that, given the nature of the tropical climate, these buildings are unhealthy to live and work in,” Birabi warns. Glass buildings “guzzle incred- ible amounts of energy in terms of air conditioning and emission of huge amounts of heat and associated greenhouse gases. Hence, they are environmentally unfriendly,” Birabi adds. “This photographic essay brings to the surface the disappearance of parks and gardens and other green spaces and urban ambience. It also raises the matter of loss of tourist architecture. As such, to those who care about these losses, this book presents an important caution to the government, KCCA, and Kampalans of the need to contemplate prudent urban environmental management initiatives and a paradigm shift towards ecofriendly green buildings, such as the city’s architecture of 19601980,” Birabi notes. Writing in her article A Case for Green Spaces in Kampala, Musisi says the green of Kampala city is being swept away by a tidal wave of grey concrete. “It is a process ‘‘ use Kampala’s open spaces. “There must be co-existence. What is a road without pedestrian paths or cyclist paths? Provision for all road users is essential in any modern city, and most road users are on foot. Currently, we have very little provision for pedestrians or cyclists,” she says. “We don’t have enough trees. Kampala’s open space has been eaten up rapidly by the profit motive, coupled with a lack of regulation, and lack of enforcement due to corruption.” Jennifer Musisi that has been accelerating steadily since the establishment of a stable government in the 1980s,” she observes. “Growth of the built environ- ment, at the expense of the city’s green open spaces, is now reaching exponential proportions. If something is not done, and quickly, there will be very little green space left,” Musisi warns. Musisi says that during Ugan- da’s Jubilee celebrations in October 2012, Ugandans were hopeful that the chaos of ad-hoc buildings would be constrained under the new KCCA management. When Uganda got Independ- ence in 1962, Kampala was much smaller, and most of it was very green, Musisi says. “Kampala’s open space has been eaten up rapidly by the profit motive, coupled with a lack of regulation, and lack of enforcement due to corruption,” she adds. Musisi says KCCA has created a landscape department to define strategies on how to conserve and They add value and we can use them in so many beneficial ways, such as creating boulevards of native species providing valuable shade. These will help make the environment greener and absorb pollution, as well as attracting and keeping Kampala’s urban wildlife vibrant.” She adds: “Open spaces don’t just mean green spaces, such as parks and gardens, and sports grounds. They also include streets and squares, junctions, industrial areas, lake shores, forests, and all urban areas.” Apart from developing its stra- tegic plan for open spaces, KCCA also has to stop illegal developments. “Often these are the urban wetlands, and many areas have already been filled in and built on. These areas, formerly swamps, are prone to flooding during the rainy season.” According to Musisi, developing a green belt policy is a top priority. KCCA is drafting new laws to conserve the green areas left, including swamps, parks and gardens, and other undeveloped land. “Concrete is mostly impervious to rain, and large areas of hard surfaces in hilly tropical locations, such as Kampala, means that most of the water runs into the swamps where many poor Ugandans have built or are renting homes. Flooding is frequent, causing outbreaks of waterborne diseases, such as typhoid and cholera. And less green means the effects of pollution are felt more, as well as the heat — the sun heats up the concrete and pushes the daytime temperature to uncomfortable levels,” she adds.
February 24th 2014
March 10th 2014