- MALAWI. MINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING, CAPITAL CITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, Lilongwe, new capital city.
- DEBORAH POTTS, Capital Relocation in Africa: The Case of Lilongwe in Malawi, The Geographical Journal
- Vol. 151, No. 2 (Jul., 1985), pp. 182-196
type of New Town:
> scale of autonomy
The Malawian Government announced the decision to move its capital from Lomba to Lilongwe in 1965, a year after the Independence. The reason for capital relocation was the desire for a new central location, greater regional equality and the achievement of political aims. The first plan by a firm of South African architects was received in 1967, but it was considered unsuitable for the needs of the local economy still undeveloped. A new plan was drawn up by the Town Planning Department: the government aim was to create a “garden capital city” for a population expected to reach some 500.000 inhabitants by 2000.
The first construction works began in 1969, in the government administrative site. However, the development of the town proceeded unequally, and many zones remained undeveloped. The urban fabric is divided into old and new. The new city consists of hotels, embassies, governmental institutions and offices while the old city consists of markets, bus stations, cafes and restaurants. A liner, multi-centred urban form was adopted to avoid congestion problems within a single centre. However, most of the areas lack an intermixing of uses; moreover, financial constraints have prevented the housing program from keeping the pace with the rapid population grown, generating conflict with the city population. Even transports represent another problem in the city of Lilongwe, due to the cost of public transport service, inaccessible for a large part of the inhabitants.
Nowadays, Lilongwe has a population of around 1 million, and it is facing the problem of a fair and equitable distribution of income and wealth as many other African cities. The main disparities concern the difficulty in land access, education, health and economic opportunities, not just between urban and rural people, but also between man and women of the same origin.