In line w'ith the objectives of this chapter, a case study approach was adopted to undertake a qualitative study of Kibuga (meaning “city” in the Luganda language), the city for the Buganda Kingdom that w'as merged w'ith and became part of the present-day Kampala city, in order to understand the transformation of its spatial structure and how that affects the intangible heritage of the Buganda Kingdom. It involved the collection of old maps, pictures, and any descriptive archived information on the spatial configuration of Kibuga, observation of the territorial dynamics and cultural heritage sites, and identifying the intangible assets through a focus group discussion. In addition, interview's were used to study variables such as effects of the spatial transformation on the memory, the collective imagination, the local identity, and the sense of belonging that were associated with the urban set-up. In-depth interviews were also conducted with selected key professionals of the built environment to understand the challenges of incorporating urban intangibles (for instance, the cultural heritage of local communities) into new urban planning and design.

Eight (8) persons were successfully interviewed—tw'o (2) architects on the board of the Physical Planning Building Approval at Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA); three (3) from the Department of Physical Planning (at the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development (MLHUD)); two (2) assistants to the Managing Director of the Tourism Board from Mengo; one (1) Managing Director from the Historic Resources Conservation Initiatives (HRCI), and tw'o (2) academics from University of Makerere from the spatial planning field.

Tracing the evolution of identity in the local community was achieved through focus group discussions, in which the selection criteria of the participants relied on their age and knowledge of intangible heritage. These were supported by site visits and observations.

The geographical scope was narrowed down from the whole of Kampala city to the Rubaga division, part of Kawempe, and the Makindye division; that is, the west of the city, since most of the historical events concerning the Buganda Kingdom and the city took place in this region.


The Morphological Structure of the Buganda Kingdom before Formal Planning

Prior to formal planning, as can be seen in Figure 10.1, the area had nine (9) hills, separated by rivers and swamps in the valley. The river Bwaisa is located to the north, on the periphery of Kibuga, then the river Nabisasiro is located south of river Bwaisa. In between these rivers, from the west to the northeast are the hills of Lugala, Lubya, Kasubi, Makerere, and Mulago. Then to the south of the river Nabisasiro is the river Nalukolongo with its tributary river Wakaliga. In between these two rivers is a cluster of hills: Rubaga, Nakasero, Mengo, and Old Kampala. Old Kampala, also known as Kampala Hill, was the nucleus of Uganda’s capital (Kampala), bordered by Makerere, Nakasero, Mengo, and Namirembe to the north, east, south, and west respectively. Kampala Hill, which used to be a favorite hunting ground of the King of Buganda, attained its name of Old Kampala when the city expanded to the neighboring hills. A swamp/wetland then makes a boundary for the Kibuga from the north, west, and south. Major landmarks such as religious institutions, cultural institutions, educational institutions, and health institutions are located on hilltops. Feeder roads were on the hillsides, with the settlements and major roads and highways going through the valleys.

In 1858, the first indication of spatial organization was from Kagwa’s drawing (Gutkind, 1960). It marked the genesis of a more organized urban morphology. There was a main road beginning directly from the King’s palace at the top of the hill and going down across the swamp. Other secondary and minor roads also sprouted from the hill top to the valley, and they had adjoining narrow roads as well. Between 1891 and 1899, the road network precisely showed roads going directly to and from the top of the hill and directly crossing the valleys (see Figure 10.2). The ring road was then at Mengo, going around the King’s palace, and not at Kasubi. Rubaga and Namirembe Hills hosted the cathedrals, while a mosque was constructed at Kibuli Hill. Markets were built at the base of the hills at Namirembe and Old Kampala.

The Advent of Formal Planning and Urban Infrastructure in Kibuga

Implementation of planning schemes started by 1919, and this brought about changes in the urban tissue of several towns, including the old Kampala town, the new Kampala township, Namirembe, and Rubaga. From Figure 10.3, it can be seen that the road networks don’t seem to follow a defined pattern. However, closer observation shows that feeder roads are concentrated on the hills above 1.106 m, but not below because settlements were mainly concentrated around the slopes of the hills

Morphology and different capitals of Buganda kings. Source

FIGURE 10.1 Morphology and different capitals of Buganda kings. Source: Tusiime, 2017.

while crop cultivation and animal rearing was done at the base of the hills, closer to the swamps. Thus, there was no need to create feeder roads. Some main roads and highways built by the government go through the valleys, as it is a cheaper option than building over the hill. Residential buildings were spread from the hillside into the valleys. A few individual houses were enclosed within a boundary and a gate. There sprang up a mixture of commercial complexes and/or buildings, some of which were mixed-use type, w'ith shops on the ground floor and residential units on the upper floors. Educational faculties (schools and institutes), health centers, and hospitals were built, and industries were located in the valleys or in the swamps. According to the physical planner at MLHUD, parts of the swamps are drained, filled with soil, and then built over with residential structures and industries. However, the hilltops of Kasubi and Lubiri remained the green areas of present-day Kampala.

Road structure in Kibuga 1891-1899. Source

FIGURE 10.2 Road structure in Kibuga 1891-1899. Source: digitized by Tusiime, 2017.

All other hilltops accommodate institutions such as universities, hospitals, cathedrals, or mosques. These developments gave the area a new urban tissue and changed the spatial structure of the town. Consequently, the new urban form brought about changes, including changes in cultural land uses, cultural practices, and sense of belonging, as well as cultural norms and values.

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