Dakar is dominated by a steppe climate. Rainfall is low all year long. By Köpeen climate classification, it is a type Bsh climate (hot semi-arid). The average temperature is 24.9° C all year long. The average annual rainfall reaches the 469 mm. The difference between the drier month and the more humid one is of 182 mm. And temperature wise, we observe a difference of 6.4°C between the lowest and highest temperature all year long. The hottest month is October, with an average temperature of 28.1°C. And February would be the coldest with an average of 21.7°C.

Dakar is located on an ancient volcano, with the Les Mamelles Lighthouse sitting at the top. After a long erosion, this gave the rocky ridge of the Cap-Vert presque-isle, the Goree Island in the South, the Magdalen Islands in the West and the Ngor Island in the North.

Today, Dakar’s environment is characterized by a pollution of marine waters (especially Hann Bay), as well as air pollution, which is mostly due to dysfunctions in the transport system, the increasing disappearance of green spaces in urban areas and the increasing industrial risks.

The region of Dakar (comprising the departments of Dakar, Rufisque, Pikine and Guédiawaye) covers an area of 550 km2with an estimated population in 2002 of 2,267,356 inhabitants, its urbanization rate was 96.6% in 2004. The same year, it concentrated 23% of the country’s population on 0.3% of the national territory, which represents a density of 4,145 hectares/km2. This rapid increase of the population has unfortunately not been accompanied by substantial economic growth. The city does not have the reception possibilities, both in jobs and housing. This uncontrolled growth of the city has given birth to slums and shanty towns lacking all types of infrastructure. Virtually all the indicators (consumption of water, energy, transport, etc.) will be multiplied by two, three or even four in the coming decades, situating Dakar at the heart of the problems of development, environment, security, public health, etc. It is undoubtedly the place where all potentials but also all risks are concentrated.

Habitat type and land tenure

The planned type of habitat correspond to residential areas where urban stands have been respected.

This area includes the district of Plateau, Mermoz, Point E, Almadies, Hann Marists, etc. These neighborhoods are the fruits of housing programs carried out by public, semi-public and private companies (SNHLM, SICAP, HAMO) and housing cooperatives.

Village-type habitat. This type of habitat concerns the traditional fishing villages of Hann, Ngor, Yoff, Ouakam Cambèrène, scattered along the peninsula, where the inhabitants have always rely on a respect of customary law on the land. The soil belongs to the entire Lebou community, which redistributes to families, the lots they claim as their own goods, as their ‘’property’’. Land occupation and distribution have been anarchic. This type of habitat represents 7.97% in the city of Dakar (data from 2004).

The irregular spontaneous habitat corresponds to the neighborhoods of Grand Medina, a part of Fass Delorme, etc. The occupation of this space was done in an anarchic way, without land title or financial reward where the name is attributed to the floating districts. The streets are very narrow, sandy and difficult to access for motor vehicles.

The regular spontaneous habitat is concentrated in the districts of the Medina, Gueule Tapée, Grand Dakar, Colobane and Parcelles Assainies. The habitat in these neighborhoods is self-built on approved subdivisions. They benefit from a good service in equipment and urban infrastructures.

Spontaneous housing, as conceived in Dakar’s Urban Master Plan (PDU), extends to regular and irregular residential areas and village-type neighborhoods. It is a habitat of popular emanation most often built outside the norms set by the urban planning policy.