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Play Mahonda

TU Delft

Forms a platform for relevant local stakeholders and support them co-design a potential new town settlement through a set of design principles.

September 2019

Zanzibar, Tanzania

Partners: EFL Foundation, Delft Global Initiative the DoURP

1 session with over 48 local participants

The African New Town Game, Play Mahonda, is a city game for the future Mahonda New Town development in Zanzibar, Tanzania. The game proposes a set of design principles to organize a potential new town settlement. Minimum number of rules on land use composition, density, mobility, water networks, food and energy production are proposed to allow for maximum local and self-organization of local communities and limit top-down planning mechanisms. In September 2019, a group of local stakeholders and experts from Zanzibar and the Netherlands will contribute to a city game workshop, where they can test design rules and provide feedback for the relevancy of design principles for the local context.

The workshop took place from 21 – 27 September 2019. Its programme was developed by the DoURP in collaboration with AAmatters which brought in its know-how on the development of planning documents in Zanzibar and provided context insights. The ‘Play Mahonda’ session counting 48 participants from the village, intensively ‘playing Mahonda’ under the stimulating guidance of Cristina Ampatzidou, was the highlight of the weeklong work. ‘Play Mahonda’ was followed by design sessions with the DoURP team, combined with expert presentations by Priscila Izar (Ardhi University in Dar es Salaam) on ‘Exploring Urbanisation from the Ground: the Experiences from Dar es Salaam’, Simone Rots (INTI) on ‘Sites and Services approaches’, Anteneh Tola (TU Delft) on ‘New Towns in Rural Areas with BuraNEST (Ethiopia) as example’ and Igor Pessoa (TU Delft) on ‘Participatory Planning Processes’.

Although the course of events as well as the outcomes of the workshop brought a lot of surprises, much could be learned about the participatory planning process forming its backbone and Mahonda as a settlement. The workshop also brought to light residents’ interesting visions for the future of their village. Certainly an inspiring starting point for the impending development of the Local Area Plan for Mahonda.

The events were made possible with the support of EFL Foundation, Delft Global Initiative and the DoURP.

City game design rules

land use and density


A site and services grid, laid out by the local authority, organizes mobility and water network in the new town, The smallest unit of the urban grid consists of a city plot sized  40 * 80 meters.

land use composition

Available land for the new town has a land composition of 20 % public green for recreation, 10% productive green for food production, 5% infrastructure and 65% city development [housing, services, retail, sport, culture and more].


The density in the urbanized area is on average 60 households per hectare, amounting to 1200 households. An average of 70m2 per household a 84.000 m2 built space for residential use, which is combined with 20.000 m2 non-housing program. There is no maximum height.


The New Town Mahonda is a walkable community and resident’s mobility is organized through shared vehicles, bicycle and on foot. A bus line connects the settlement to other nodes in the Zanzibar.


Min 40% of each town plot [40*80sqm=3200] will be left open for public and semi-public spaces.


A replacement is obliged for nature areas that might be destroyed due to the new town development.


As described in land use composition 20% of the developed land will be dedicated for food production and it is up to players to organize it either collectively or individually


All households contribute to the energy production through renewable resources organized as a local smart energy grid for the community. In the game, 2 solar panels represent 20 solar panels supplying 50 homes in a year, alternatively a wind turbine of 6,5 million kWh per year covers the energy use of max 2000 houses.


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