Urban heritage: what is it? whose is it?
Who decides what gets to be preserved?
Why do certain places get destroyed?
What tools can we use to document and communicate it?

Between September 2015 and March 2017, a combination of activists, researchers and students have collaborated between Berlin and Dar es Salaam to excavate unseen spatial histories and confronting the implications of the built fabric on local residents. 

‘from below’

“Heritage” is often understood from an institutional point of view –a label attributed to specific buildings and sites for their “historical value” by international organisations like UNESCO or ICOMOS.

What historical values do we look at? What do they represent, and how to handle preservation / demolition (sometimes even: erasure)?

Simulizi Mijini is inspired from a rights-based approach to heritage: right to access public spaces, right to representation and commemoration for minorities, right to consider immaterial traditions as cultural values… Urban Narratives should develop beyond Europe and North America, focusing on East Africa and particularly Dar es Salaam, can introduce different (comparative) perspectives on the formats and aspects of urban heritage.

Heritage in the context of global urban studies

Simulizi Mijini has a comparative, empirical approach to global urban studies, to go beyond Eurocentrism and make room for voices from the Global South.

Flanerie and the passive observer: how to record the city?

What to make of the derive in the age of tracking systems? Can we envision this data collection method as a qualitative way to observe and describe the city?

Researching Dar es Salaam – A Bibliography (1)

A selection of readings focusing on the urban history of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in the 20th century.

Researching Dar es Salaam – A Bibliography (2)

A selection of readings questioning Northern epistemologies in urban studies and aiming to “decolonize” academic discourses about African urbanism.

Afrikanische Viertel in Berlin: a PostKolonial Take On The City

How is Germany’s little known colonial history still archived in the city? Reflexions from Berlin Postkolonial.


Artists, scholars and urban activists debate the question of heritage in cities across the world, from Dar es Salaam to Berlin in this Things don’t really exist until you give them a name.


An unfinished index of references for cognitive mapping, representing the city from below, and visualising urban narratives. Tell us about yours using the contact form below!

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