Post by Kana Kudo, MURP candidate ’15, who is in Lusaka, Zambia
Lusaka changed immensely in a year!
I used to live and work as a planner in Lusaka, Zambia from 2011 to 2013. While working here, I realized the importance of sustainable development and how it could positively affect people’s lives. Therefore, after finishing my first year at UCLA Luskin School, I came back to Lusaka to work as a planning intern at Lusaka Province Planning Authority in order to apply my knowledge and skills that I acquired through my urban planning coursework.
After coming back to Lusaka, I realized that so many things that I thought I was accustomed to are new. The heavy traffic jam is one and the cold weather is another. I remembered there were traffic jams at a certain time of a day and certain places in the city. However, now, the traffic jam occurs anytime and everywhere! Even after the rush hour for commuters, I was caught in a taxi for 30 minutes just to pass a roundabout! Because of the lack of proper public transportation system and social status of driving their own vehicles, more Zambians seem to be driving. As the driving rules tend not to be followed strictly, it has become so much more difficult for pedestrians to walk around in the city.
In addition, the weather is much colder than I expected. As Zambia is in the Southern hemisphere, it is winter right now. After spending a year in LA with beautiful and warm weather, I needed a couple of days to adjust myself to winter again. Additionally, Zambia is in high altitude (about 1300m / 4265 ft above sea level), so the temperature drops significantly once the sun sets (the lowest average temperature of a day is about 7C / 44.5F). I need to wear a thick jacket particularly during mornings and evenings!
It has been only a week since I arrived at Lusaka. I am excited to work on planning related projects in Lusaka Province and rediscover Zambia throughout this summer/winter!