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Measuring and Modelling Metabolic Flows in Bagamoyo, Tanzania.

This research is about the challenges faced by a rapidly growing medium-sized city in Tanzania. It employs novel methods to better understand the delivery of municipal service systems (ie waste and water), and it ultimately generates recommendations for their improvement.


Duration: From 2015 – Present.


Tanzania is the most rapidly urbanizing country in East Africa, and its urban population is expected to grow to 60 million by 2050. This poses urgent challenges as city systems are put under considerable strain. This project focuses on how one medium-sized city is dealing with these challenges. Bagamoyo is on the Indian Ocean coast approximately 35 miles north of the capital Dar es Salaam. It features prominently in the Tanzanian Government’s development strategy and its population is growing faster than formal service systems can be expanded. The aim of this project is to establish an understanding of the complex nature of waste and water systems in Bagamoyo, and develop strategies for strengthening their reach, efficiency, inclusivity and resilience.

Its main objective is developing a new method to measure metabolic flows in cities in developing countries, whose metabolic systems are largely informal.

This research has already resulted in policy recommendations, made at a dissemination event in Bagamoyo with representatives from the District Commissioner’s Office and the Dar es Salaam Water and Sewage Corporation (DAWASCO). The recommendations were focused on ways in which the city’s metabolism could be reconfigured to reduce inequality and enhance sustainability.


Researchers involved in this project include: Seth Schindler, MSc-level students from the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Desdery Barongo, Joshua Shabani.