|Arandis, Namibia, Africa
|Namib Dessert - new town Arandis
Arandis is located 70 km inland from the costal town of Swakopmund in south-west Africa / Namibia. The reason for placing a town in the dessert, far from water and electricity supply is to house the employees of one of the world's larges open cast uranium mines. It is run by Rossing Uranium Limited (http://www.rossing.com), and the mine is placed 10 km from the town.
The first plan of Arandis was made in 1974 by a government department. This included the town plan and 615 houses. This plan was a 'traditional' plan for low cost housing with individual housing placed within a small 300sqm site along relatively wide roads with no thought given to the pedestrians. The crime rate of the town was high and the social and physical conditions were unstable.
It was the mine management that decided that the town's condition was too bad to create a stable community for its workers. The construction company of the mine Ove Arup joint together with the consultants - the Architects, Urban Designers and Quality Survey in the formation of Gallagher Arup Samson Inc to develop the urban plan.
The plan was an ambitious redevelopment of the town and proposed a renovation of the existing houses, additional community facilities and many new houses in packages of 100 at a time. The entire road system was also redirected so as to create narrower roads with space for pedestrians too. The houses were placed close to the narrow roads with open verandas and kitchens facing the street thus creating both rooms for social interaction and natural surveillance that would reduce crime.
New community facilities such as town hall, church, shops, squares, social clubs, public sports facilities, bus terminal etc were also created as well as a local hospital. In general the concern for climatic conditions and a greater concern for both public and private spatial divisions were implemented.
Many of the changes were implemented with at high degree of consultancy of the inhabitants. Through meetings the inhabitants were invited to discus the plans. Two other aspects of the town are also remarkable; one, it is completely un-segregated and two, it has successfully attracted whole families to settle in the town rather than having just single male workers living close to their workplace and their families elsewhere.
It is (1985) becoming a concern that the city's relative wealth and attractive living conditions will attract settlers to that does not work in the mine. These will create a pressure against the planned organization of the city and could create ad hoc housing and other tendencies that would 'devaluate' the settlement. This will probably be one of the major challenges for the future.
Another challenge will be to handle the increased diversification that will eventually take place among the inhabitants; new settlers will need other housing than that provided by the mine, the miners children will grow up and need other housing facilities if they are not working at the mine etc.
The author (Glen Gallagher) proposes a plan to incorporate the future challenges of the town into a new and flexible urban plan.
In 1991 Arandis was officially handed over to the Government of Namibia and in 1994 the first town council was inaugurated. The R?ɬ?ssing mining industry itself suffered economic setbacks in the beginning of the 1990's following the drop in uranium price.
The city is thus independent of Rossing but also without considerable funds. It is attempted to find alternative industries to develop in the town and to redevelop its image independent of the mining industry.
source: Description based on notes from Glen Gallagher 'Arandis New Town, Namib Dessert'
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