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Location analysis for a capital city; a case study for the proposed Federation of East Africa Grewal, Bhagwant Singh

Abstract

The three former British possessions, on the. East coast of Africa, namely, Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika have much in common because of their past history and British rule. They are planning to form a Federation of East Africa, with one Central Government, one President and one flag. One of the points being considered is the location for the Federal Capital. Some of the existing East African cities and towns have forwarded their claims for the seat of the Federal Government. The purpose of this study is twofold. Firstly, the author feels that new Capital cities are often designed as prestige cities, or as monument cities. Their locations are often based upon the political decisions, usually as a compromise between two existing major cities claiming for the seat of government. The result is an entirely new city designed from the start as a monumental city. The best examples are Ottawa, Washington, Canberra and Brasilia, the national capitals of Canada, United States, Australia and Brazil respectively. Such capitals lack social and economic activities that exist in more developed capital cities of the world like London, Paris and Rome. In this age of space ships, science and technology have made so much progress that man in the street has not been able to catch up with these. New cities can now he built in a matter of months, or a few years, but social warmth and comfort, social atmosphere and civilization still take their course. Man still grows at the same rate as he did centuries ago. We are far from the world Aldous Huxley has predicted, his world of mass production of human beings and of test tube babies. There is no doubt that technology has shown us ways and means of mass producing the buildings, but one cannot see the day when social structures will be established overnight. The people who provide the life and vitality of the community are still the backbone of the society. For the Federation of East Africa to have a new Capital that will have a good set of social facilities as quickly as possible, in order to have people that make a society and a city, the existing social amenities and facilities in the various existing towns and cities should be examined and evaluated. Secondly, to find a suitable location for the new Federal Capital of East Africa, a study was made by reviewing and evaluating some of the existing new capitals of the world. This gave the author an insight of the reasons for their existence, techniques and problems involved in selecting their locations, and the problems, like social and economic, that exist in these capitals today. This gave a picture of their success and failure. Based on this study and on existing physical, social, economic, administrative and political conditions in East Africa, criteria were established under the same five headings. The criteria were then applied on those towns and cities that have forwarded their claims for the seat of the Federal Government. The results were evaluated on their merits, and three existing towns were selected in order of preference as potential locations for the new Federal Capital of East Africa. The results of these findings are that the Capital for the proposed Federation of East Africa should be located adjacent to Nairobi, and it should share available social, economic and physical facilities and amenities with this cosmopolitan centre, and that in addition the new capital should be a national monument.

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