Superimposed Spatial Distributions of Environmental Risk and Socioeconomic Status in Spontaneous Housing

Elena Tesluk, SIT Study Abroad

Tanzania: Wildlife Conservation and Political Ecology


This study proposes to document the spatial distribution of environmental inequality in spontaneous housing in West Buhongwa ward in Mwanza, Tanzania and to assess potential causes of this distribution. It is hypothesized that inequalities in the spatial distribution of environmental risk in W. Buhongwa negatively correlate with the spatial distribution of socioeconomic status. Research methods consist of secondary source analyses; semi-structured, open-ended surveys with residents of W. Buhongwa; structured, open-ended surveys with local government and resource distribution officials; and transect walks in W. Buhongwa. Data analysis culminates in the creation of overlaying maps depicting spatial distribution of socioeconomic status and environmental risk in W. Buhongwa. By assessing correlation between environmental inequality and socioeconomic status, a greater understanding of environmental inequality and its causes within spontaneous housing communities is gained. Assessing correlation between environmental risk and socioeconomic status within the context of governmental distribution of resources sheds light upon the obstacles facing urbanization within unplanned settlements and the environmental and social consequences resulting from the perpetuation of underdevelopment within spontaneous housing communities.