The urban challenges of a booming Maputo
Offices being built in central Maputo, southern Mozambique. The construction industry is booming, with property prices in the city centre more than doubling in the past five yearsJon Spaull
Despite the property boom, most people in the city centre live in overcrowded and rundown apartment blocksJon Spaull
Three-quarters of the citys inhabitants live in informal settlements around the periphery, such as here in Hulene districtJon Spaull
Apartment blocks in central Maputo face frequent power shortages as the supply of electricity fails to keep up with soaring demandJon Spaull
A man walks past sewage on a street in Mafalala, a poor settlement near the city centre. Piped water and sewage systems are only available to a quarter of Maputos populationJon Spaull
An open sewer canal in the district of Drenagem Do Vale Do Infulene. These canals can be breeding grounds for disease-carrying mosquitoes. Malaria is endemic in MaputoJon Spaull
Urban farming in the Zona Verde, a strip of agricultural land between Maputo and Matola. The farmers irrigate plants using untreated domestic and industrial sewage pumped from the only set of sewage storage ponds in this metropolitan areaJon Spaull
Foam from untreated sewage that has been used to irrigate crops in Zona Verde. Recycling untreated waste helps conserve water, but it can transmit parasites such as hookworm and diseases such as typhoid to farmers and customersJon Spaull
Fires partially obscure the Mahlampswene rubbish dump in Matola. Maputo faces the increasing problem of managing solid waste from its growing population. The city government is considering incinerating the waste to generate electricityJon Spaull
A girl who lives and works on the rubbish dump. Hundreds of families support themselves by recycling waste from the landfillJon Spaull
Commuters in the poor district of Benfica wait for a lift. Transport includes buses, vans and My Love trucks, named after the intimate nature of the journey for those crammed on the open-backed vehicles. Congestion is growing alongside the citys population. In 2008 there were riots over public transport costsJon Spaull
Transporting chickens to sell in Benfica district. In recent years, Maputos urban poultry farmers have had to compete with imports of cheap frozen chickens from BrazilJon Spaull
People waiting to be seen outside the Ndlavela health centre in Matola. There are only two general hospitals in Maputo. According to the WHO, just 971 doctors were registered in Mozambique in 2012Jon Spaull
In Maputo, half of households live on less than US$125 a month.  The metropolitan area formed by Maputo and the adjoining city of Matola is one of the fastest-growing in Africa. It has 2.5 million inhabitants, forecast to rise to more than four million by 2025. . Its growth was kick-started by the country’s civil war, which ran between 1977 and 1992, as people fled to the safe haven of this government-controlled area.
In the 1980s, the city introduced a programme to curb unplanned expansion by redistributing thousands of plots of land to citizens for housing. The UN recognised this Strategic Action Planning programme as a model of planning for poor urban areas. 
But expansion since then has been largely unregulated, overstretching the city’s health, education and transport systems — and even leading to riots over food and transport costs. Most residents now live in inadequate housing on low lying areas on the outskirts prone to flash flooding. Around three-quarters of the population lack access to piped water and sewage systems, leading to outbreaks of malaria and waterborne diseases including cholera. 
This photo gallery illustrates some of the pressing challenges faced by Maputo and its residents — challenges that the country’s new-found income has yet to resolve.
Jon Spaull was assisted by Charles Mangwiro in Maputo.
This article is part of the Spotlight on Transforming cites for sustainability.
References African economic outlook 2014 (African Development Bank, the OECD Development Centre and the UN Development Programme, 2014)
 Ines Raimundo and others The state of food insecurity in Maputo, Mozambique (African Food Security Urban Network, 2014)
 Jørgen Eskemose Andersen and Paul Jenkins Urban development in Maputo: Strategic action planning on a tight budget (LSE Cities, November 2011)