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The Michenzani Train

Housing in Zanzibar after the revolution.

The 1964 the new government supported a German designed redevelopment plan, that originally envisioned new housing throughout Ng’ambo, for 30,000 people. They would reside in almost 7,000 new apartments, in a total of 229 buildings, some as much as 15 stories tall. That plan was never fully implemented. Instead, the Revolutionary government focused on the Michenzani area and there built 1,102 apartments, within several identical connected buildings. The Germans had borrowed an earlier soviet housing design and architect Hubert Scholz standardized that design to produce both 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom apartment modules. These units could be joined or sacked together to make buildings of any size desired. The finished buildings on Zanzibar are up to 300 meters long and 6 or 8 stories high. The East Germans promoted their ‘Postmodern” building model throughout the socialist eastern- bloc world at the time. Buildings similar to those at Michenzani were also were constructed in Mongolia and in Vietnam in this era.