Chantal Wullimann, MA


The Production of Road Traffic: Strategies of Pedestrians to claim Space in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania



This MA thesis is an interdisciplinary study in African Studies which explores the relationship between pedestrian traffic and space. It examines the spatial practices of road users in general and of pedestrians in particular, the physical structures and social constraints as well as the lived experiences of pedestrians in the traffic system of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The study mainly draws on Henri Lefebvre’s work on The Production of Space.

Aim and Methods

The aim is to analyse the dynamics of road traffic and its determining (f)actors of spatial relevance. The focus lies on the probing of Lefebvre’s argument of (road) users to be passive and dominated by formal, institutional power. Findings are based on a triangulation of primary sources, namely mental maps, semi-structured street interviews and photography.

Results and Discussion

Data analysis shows evidence of an institutional power weakness which allows motorised road users to exercise power over non-motorised traffic participants. There is little evidence for the passivity of non-motorised road users since their decisions for moving in space seem to be based on expectations about the organisation of order in the street, and are thus taken rather actively. I found specific practices, norms and values for different groups of road users who occupy the Dar es Salaam traffic system.