Regenerating Namaacha

History, resiliency, and sustainable urban development of a secondary town in the Maputo Province, Mozambique




The paper presents a study about Namaacha, a small town in the eastern part of the Maputo Province (Mozambique) bordering South Africa and eSwatini, a rich area in terms of natural, built, and cultural heritage, but subjected to a series of socio-economic and environmental fragilities. Research conducted in the framework of the project "Boa_Ma_Nhã, Maputo!" (Polisocial Award 2018) based at Politecnico di Milano allowed to unfold the urban history of Namaacha, to study past and present planning tools, and to investigate the main challenges and potentialities for social, economic, and territorial development of the town, which regard specifically its agro-ecological and food systems, as well as its built and natural heritage. The paper presents the attempt to reconceptualise and set in synergy existing value assets as resiliency drivers, with the aim of leveraging local development through contextually sensitive planning and governance tools in the shape of guidelines, strategic scenarios, and pilot projects. The case-study aims at testing methodologies to approach – in a context-sensitive, and historically-aware perspective – the sustainable regeneration of built and landscape heritage in fragile socio-economic conditions in the Global South.