This paper offers an exploration of urban expansion from the point of view of the individual residents buying land, settling and living in new, rapidly growing peripheral settlements of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The findings suggest that the demand for affordable housing is the primary motivation for residents moving to the periphery. The demand for self-built, owner-occupier housing is especially significant initially, while the demand for non-ownership housing increases in importance later in the process. Income-related motives, on the other hand, are strikingly absent from settlement considerations. Urban residents settle in the periphery, even though income-generation is often tied to working somewhere else, namely in the central parts of the city. The paper proposes that the processes of urban expansion depicted in this study are usefully conceptualised as suburbanisation processes, though it is a type of suburbanisation that has some peculiarities given the particular context, where expansion happens informally and largely unguided by planners.