Interstices of Urban Dualism in Maputo

To Inhabit, Produce and Pray in Mafalala and Mikandjuíne

After 40 years of the independence of the Republic of Mozambique, its capital city has still managed to remain built from two kinds of cities as the product of the colonial apartheid. This work aims to physically react with history and politics, trying to blur this difference within its most genuine neighborhoods.

Image work detail

Maputo supports a significant population, which promises to grow to 4 million inhabitants by 2015. In this context, the responsible authorities are not able to face the demand for a decent quality of life support for the population - which is forced to settle weakly in the city, in a more dispersed than congested manner. Mafalala and Mikandjuíne - neighborhoods classified by their culture and history - are the closest improvised areas to the urban center, appearing as privileged territories for an intervention that seeks to respond to the rapid population growth and their interstitial morphology.

The drawing becomes productive when, in a holistic and integrated reading, reveals the structure of the territory and recognizes its being: its truths and its inconsistencies are evidenced, and the reconciliation of its relation with the [urban] landscape is projected. Therefore, in a historical and physical recognition of Maputo, a city whose urban layout is characterized by a specific dual relation contextualized in the tropical territory, the present work proposes to establish morphological continuities in bodies that can be identified as urban interstices and that reveal an infrastructural dependence only provided by the colonial city. In this context, the Mafalala and Mikandjuíne neighborhoods, as a support for a unique oceanic culture, are assumed as privileged territories for a project proposal that seeks to solve its anachronism, which is here necessarily morphological, but also economic and social. The only programmatic change proposed is the introduction of qualified public space. For this reason, to inhabit, to produce and to pray, although they are key verbs that predict the functionalization of an urban project, as housing, infrastructure and equipment, are only explored here as such, for it is they that compose and build the interstitial public space - as something that stands between the improvised and planned urban types. If in a first gesture the demand for this space is exercised in the opening of connecting axes with the surroundings, the cracking of the residential mass, providing a green structure for economic sustainability, is assumed as a second gesture in the strategic situation of equipments, establishing connection points at a metropolitan scale and structuring the improvised landscape.