Nyerere Square in Dodoma, the capital of Tanzania, used to be an open, concreted space with the statue of Julius Kambarage Nyerere the only attraction. Nyerere was a former prime minister and president of Tanganyika, as Tanzania was known before, and subsequently president of Tanzania.
In 2019, the Interact-Bio project set out to create a green space in the square so residents can enjoy a reprieve from the busy streets. It would prove challenging to sustain such an initiative in this drought-prone city. To ensure the park outlives the project, the team installed a grey water system to irrigate the new garden and ensure there is always sufficient water to help the plants flourish.
The team selected plants not only based on aesthetics, but also additional services that plants could bring to an urban environment. The plants chosen attract pollinators and provide shade and food, creating an urban oasis.
Today, two years later, the grass is green, the flowers bloom and the trees stand tall. Unexpectedly, and to the delight of the team, Nyerere Square has also become a popular place for photo shoots. It demonstrates the need for a long-term view in urban greening projects and consideration of the context, the water needs, and the purpose of the plants chosen for such projects.