Rebuilding Stability in Mogadishu

Rebuilding Stability in Mogadishu


A waste heap is reimagined as a market with space for vendors, a playground, and a cafe in a city living with the effects of rapid urbanization and civil war.

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Rebuilding Stability in Mogadishu


Twenty years of civil war destroyed or damaged much of Mogadishu’s economic infrastructure. Meanwhile, rapid urbanization and internal displacement left the city with densely populated camps and informal settlements across the area. Public space is limited and contested. Land ownership is a controversial issue that slows the development of basic urban services and infrastructure.

All three districts in Mogadishu were surveyed with the goal of developing a city-wide strategy for public space. Sinay Market, an informal marketplace, was selected as the primary area for improvement.

Rebuilding Stability, Block by Block

Located in a low-income neighborhood that lacks many social services, Sinay Market suffered from difficult access, poor sanitation, and problematic security. Using Block by Block Workshops to engage local residents, a detailed plan was developed for the entire block, incorporating improvements that would work to increase trade and economic opportunity for the community, while also aiming to improve the overall social situation in the area and strengthen peace. The plans were finalized and approved by the Mogadishu Municipality Planning Department, to be completed in two phases.

It can be tough for people to conceptualize if they’re only looking at 2D plans—and the less education they have, the more difficult it is. But this game bridges that gap, among all classes and levels of understanding. Minecraft is super easy to learn, is intuitive and instinctive, and gives you everything in vivid 3D.
— Pontus Westerberg, UN-Habitat


Phase one of the project, construction of a market hall at the location of a former waste heap, was completed successfully. The hall accommodates 58 market stalls for local vendors. Phase two, the creation of a public space near the market featuring a playground, cafe, and toilet facilities, is currently underway.

Unfortunately, construction has been disrupted by increasing violence in the area. To better understand the specific challenges in the region and to ideally build a more trusting relationship between the community and Benadir Regional Authority, UN-Habitat is working to facilitate discussions on conflict dynamics with different groups in the area.

Minecraft model of Sinay Market, Mogadishu, Somalia

Minecraft model of Sinay Market, Mogadishu, Somalia