From wheels to walking : exploring an alternative planning approach in Sub-Saharan countries - the case of the Axis in Nairobi, Kenya

Detta är en Uppsats för yrkesexamina på avancerad nivå från SLU/Dept. of Urban and Rural Development

Sammanfattning: Rapid urbanisation is putting strains on both the landscape and the city dwellers and the pressure on planning for sustainable and equitable cities is crucial. As many cities in Sub-Saharan Africa are expanding, city planning has trouble keeping up to meet the needs of the growing amount of urban dwellers. Many cities have also been planned with the cars in focus and the needs and comfort of the pedestrians have been overlooked. The capacity of institutions is limited due to centralized government and bureaucracy, as well as corruption. Planning is erratically implemented and it is difficult to know what will happen. Sustainability is of great importance but in fast-growing low-income countries the social, ecological and cultural sustainability is easily ignored. The aim of this essay is to find an alternative approach for planning in these countries with people and their activities as a priority. By recognizing the street as an important public space issues concerning social, ecological, economical and cultural needs can be addressed. Inclusiveness in terms of walkability can make the street become a public space within the infrastructure of the city. This can, in addition to parks and squares, be a tool to create a more sustainable city. In contrast to making big plans and working from above, the Small change approach described by Hamdi (2004) is a way to work from bottom upwards. He describes two types of structures in the city: designed structures and emerging structures. By designing for the current need with small solutions, the emerging structures appear, and the change isn’t so big that it needs big investments. This approach is very valuable when working in a limited planning context since small means can change things quickly. Using a street in Nairobi, Kenya as an example the work in this thesis consists of developing a toolkit for how to achieve a sustainable city planning by using a small step approach. The toolkit consists of the Pillars of Planning and Design Principles, guidelines and building blocks. The Axis as the street is called, runs through the central industrial area and ends in CBD, making up the only available overpass over the railways in a radius of a couple of kilometres. The history of Nairobi is of a colonial character and throughout history, both racial and social segregation have been practised while planning the city. Through observations, the needs of the city become visible and are considered in the design proposal of the Axis.

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