Talking cities

Urban narratives from Dar es Salaam and Berlin

Editor: Richard Besha, Anne-Katrin Fenk, Rachel Lee, Philipp Misselwitz, Diane Barbé

Size: 149 pages
Format: 14,8 x 21,0 cm
Publishing year: 2017
ISBN 978-3-7983-2897-6

This book collects stories and images of Dar es Salaam and Berlin that explore the theme of urban heritage from below. Based on interviews with local people in both cities, the stories were collaboratively written, exchanged and edited during two joint summer schools held at Ardhi University in Dar es Salaam and the Technical University Berlin in 2016. While some of the stories may seem naive or even banal at first glance, in aggregate they produce rich portraits of urban life and raise political questions about the right to the city and its histories as well as foregrounding shared themes such as migration, land ownership and urban development. We hope the parallels and contradictions, similarities and differences contained in the narratives will provoke a new perspective on how to define urban heritage. Only through extended dialogues about the pasts, presents and futures of these and other cities, can we construct a broad people-centred definition of cultural values of cities beyond formalistic or bureaucratic approaches: a definition that includes the cultural practices of all citizens as well as an appreciation of specific physical places.