One of the consequences of the revolution of 1964 was the massive flight of original inhabitant of Stone Town who left their house empty. There were however the different in class between the old and the new inhabitants. This difference could also be perceived socially and culturally. Many owners were wealthier that new comers, socially they were much more of urban class then the new arrival. The way of life of the ancient inhabitants coincides with the type of building this criterion was missing from the new arrival. All of these factors created new image concerning the value of Stone Town. Yet of the most important things that the building of Stone lacks from its new owner was the maintenance. The consequence of the lack of proper maintenance was quick deterioration which ended to the physical collapse of some houses. It was estimated at that moment that ten houses collapse every year.
The situation became critical and the government of Zanzibar decided to take action. With recommendation of UNCHS Stone Town Conservation and Development Authority – STCDA- was created in 1985. Starting from 1985 newly elected staff and responsible of STCDA were working hard to have their own law and regulation. With a lot of legal marathon the StoneTown had its Master plan and ACT in 1994.
In 1979, the Stone Town was declared as a single monument. The move was toward the inscription in the UNESCO world cultural heritage cities. This process was however very long. It was only in 2000 that the Stone town had a status as World Heritage Site. The idea of Heritage Status links direct the Stone Town to other cities in the world. There is now East African Regional Secretariat which need to be integrated as a reality of conservation of Stone Town.
The main task of STCDA is to monitor and advise on conservation and development of the Stone and Town. Since 2000, the Authority is also responsible of the management of the World Heritage site of Zanzibar. At the same time the Authority realize some projects. In general, it deals with three kinds of project, Consultant/Restoration projects; Cooperation projects; Research projects.
Consultant / Restoration Project
In this kind of project, STCDA advises and guides on matters concerning conservation and restoration of a building or a structure in Stone town and in Zanzibar. The project may involve either consultancy only or both consultancy and execution of restoration work. For this, STCDA has a special “task force” known as “building brigade” which consist of well experience and skilled Artisans (include masonry, carpenter, plumber, painter, electricians) for construction work in stone town buildings.
STCDA cooperates with partners, internal or external, for the issues related to the Stone Town. The cooperation may involve either the capacity building of the Authority, the funding of restoration work in Stone Town, the institutionalisation of network for South/South or North/South partnership, etc. Since the establishment of STCDA several organisation have already established this kind of cooperation. UNDP, UNESCO, NORAD, Sida and Aga Khan Trust Fund.
There has been exchanges program between STCDA and other institutions for long time. Yet the current research program which institutionalises research activities came with 2006 reforms of STCDA. Prior to this new structure, students and researchers have been arriving in STCDA for research activities. STCDA intends to do research work or to collaborate with other institutions for the same purpose. The Authority received in early 2007 two students from Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, for two months research work. There have been also some students from University of Dar-Es-Salaam for the same purpose. STCDA collaborates with SMOLE in the so called multipurpose cadastre survey, a research work to collected data from Stone Town which can be exploited with several partners: Zanzibar Municipal Council; SMOLE (Sustainable Management of Land and Environment); Zanzibar Revenue Board. For the time being there is a research on Enumeration System which is going on. The objective of this research is to understand the logic behind the numbering of Stone Town houses. This will give Authority the possibility to change or to develop the current numbering of Stone Town area.
The structure of STCDA (figure below) has been adopted in December 2006. Its philosophy based on three criteria: Efficiency and shearing of responsibility; involvement of stakeholder and community and sustainability of the future development of the Stone town as World Heritage Site.
The Authority realised that the concentration of its duties on a few hands hinders the involvement of other stakeholder and reduces the working efficiency of the public institution. The new structure “decentralise” the responsibility and improve the working condition. In addition, the hierarchy of division and section facilitates the management work. Two new ideas that of Planning Team (PT) and that of Stakeholder Forum were introduced to facilitate this new philosophy. Planning Team is a committee of senior staff who discus policy, program and development of the Stone Town. The formation of PT transcends the technical boundary to allow a wide view and sensibility of understanding of Stone town problems. This corresponds exactly to the new attitude of changing the perception of seeing the Stone Town from technical point o/view (old building) to social point o/view (old Town). If the PT was established to enforce the involvement inside the STCDA, the Stakeholder Forum will meet the same purpose but outside the wall of STCDA. The forum wills involve stakeholders to discus issue of the development of the Town. The concept of Heritage has been a major influence on the way the Authority perceives the Stone Town. It is a driving force to all major changes inside and outside STCDA. As World Heritage site the Town needs a new perception of how to govern it and a new idea on how to evolve other stakeholder in managing and sharing its values. The new structure was established to meet that challenge.