Articles hosted on The Grid

December 12 2014
Recognition of Slum Dwellers is Essential for Urban Development in Nairobi, Kenya

Access to safe, sanitary, affordable housing and basic infrastructure is a basic human right. In colonial Africa, Africans were limited to living in segregated, poorly planned areas. After independence, in cities like Accra, (Ghana), Lusaka (Zambia), and Harare (Zimbabwe) rich Africans moved to European and Asian residential areas, while the poor (and increasing urban migrants) were [Read More]

November 28 2014
Nairobi, Kenya Increases Polytechnic Education Opportunities for Growing Sectors

Urban poverty is a reality in developing cities. In many cities, thousands of people live on a dollar a day. Alongside this lies a challenge faced by many governments and municipalities in providing quality education for the urban poor. Urban poor have to face the trouble of overcrowded primary schools, shortages of teachers, poor learning [Read More]

November 14 2014
Nairobi, Kenya Solving Traffic Congestion by Increasing Capacity?

Urban areas experience a lot of vehicular congestion and traffic jams cost us millions of dollars every day through wasted time, environmental pollution, and increased stress. The City of Nairobi is no exception and due to this a “Transport and Urban Decongestion Committee� was set up by Governor Evans Kidero to look into the best [Read More]

October 31 2014
In Kenya, Nairobi National Park Faces Development Encroachment

Nairobi National Park consists of 117 km2 (approximately 45 square miles) of wild flora and fauna within the city boundaries. Established in 1947, it has over a hundred mammal species including lions, leopards, hyenas and cheetahs, plus over four hundred migratory birds. The park also has various picnic sites, restaurants, and facilities for family and [Read More]

October 17 2014
Urban Drainage Poses A Major Development Risk in Nairobi, Kenya

The City of Nairobi, Kenya lies at the border of the central highlands and the flat dry plains, composing an exceptionally interesting subtropical highland climate. This translates to two rainy seasons with an average annual high temperature of 280C and a low of 150C. The southern sloping terrain enables a natural drainage flow that settles in the [Read More]

September 29 2014
Time for Nairobi, Kenya to Manage its Urban Freight or Face Transportation Woes

Population growth in cities comes with a increased demand for goods. These goods need to be transported to get to their consumers. The movement of these goods within the city is what we may call urban freight. The developing world has put little consideration into the management of urban freight within its urban planning frameworks. Most cities [Read More]

September 17 2014
Green Buildings Sprouting Up in Nairobi, Kenya

Green buildings are at times defined as buildings that are “not as bad� or “notably better� than the average with regard to impact on the environment. More technically,  a green building is one whose construction and lifetime of operation assure the healthiest possible environment while representing the most efficient and least disruptive use of land, [Read More]

August 01 2014
Nairobi, Kenya’s 1973 Master Plan Receives an Update

Urban planners from the County Government of Nairobi and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have produced a new Master plan called Nairobi Integrated Urban Development Master Plan (NIUPLAN). This is expected to guide the growth and development of the City for the next 15 years. It is the first major plan since the Nairobi Metropolitan Growth Strategy [Read More]

June 30 2014
The Development and Use of Nairobi’s Urban Commuter Rail

One of the most interesting recent developments in Kenya is the budgetary allocation by the Kenyan Government for an urban commuter railway. This came under the drive to improve productivity and competitiveness through investment in modern transport and logistic networks. A few weeks prior to this, the Governor of Nairobi launched the Nairobi Integrated Master Plan [Read More]

June 20 2014
Persons with Disabilities Largely Ignored in African Cities

Recent up-market building construction in the City of Nairobi has made a big effort to accommodate persons with disability, the sick and the elderly. Ramps for those who may have a problem using stairs, braille buttons, vocal instructions in lifts for the visually impaired, and even special washrooms for these vulnerable groups are some of [Read More]

June 06 2014
Is There Any Solution to Nairobi’s Parking Nightmare?

“Drivers in New Delhi, Bangalore, Nairobi and Milan argue most over parking spaces [and] more than half of the drivers get frustrated and end up giving up on looking for parking space,� according to IBMs global survey on parking space in major cities. Many have stated that Nairobi, in particular the Central Business District, does not [Read More]

May 23 2014
The Emerging Motorcycle Taxi Sector of Nairobi, Kenya

When we think of mobility as a public good, we need to ensure that people can access different parts of the city in a flexible manner. There are several means that can be used for this from bicycles and cars to walking and public transportation. The phenomenon of motorcycle taxis has become popular around the world recently. However, many urban planners, authorities [Read More]

May 09 2014
What Direction has Nairobi’s Densification Taken?

The City of Nairobi has witnessed a gradual transformation over the last decade. This is the change from what were single unit houses to high-rise buildings, of several stories, like office blocks and multi-story apartments. The increasing urban population has created an increased demand for housing and office space. This has put pressure on the [Read More]

April 25 2014
1,500 Tons of Waste Goes Uncollected in Nairobi, Kenya Each Day

One of the first pledges made by the first Governor of Nairobi upon assuming office was that of cleaning up the city. Years of neglecting solid waste management had seen the city cease from being a “green city in the sun.� Increased urban growth, poor urban planning and years of mismanagement by the now defunct [Read More]

April 11 2014
Double Decker Highway: Good or Bad for Nairobi?

It is not news that there is a planned double decker highway for the City of Nairobi. Many people see the project as progressive and a potential solution to the traffic congestion problems. Only a few are asking whether it is really a long-term solution to our traffic menace and whether there are other more [Read More]

March 28 2014
The Risky Affair of Cycling in Nairobi, Kenya

013 Tour de France winner Chris Froome first started cycling as a boy in Kenya. Cycling is an equitable and low-cost form of mobility, although it can be a dangerous activity in cities like Nairobi. Many cities around the world have long recognized the importance of cycling as a way of mobility.  The City of [Read More]

March 14 2014
“Hatches, Matches, and Dispatches� Building of Kenya Continues to Stand

A city may start as a few shops, a road junction or even a railway station. The City of Nairobi is no exception. Starting as a railway headquarters in a swampy area, it has grown to a huge cosmopolitan concrete jungle. The historical growth and initial urban design of the city can be appreciated through [Read More]

February 28 2014
Nairobi’s Informal Urban Markets Threatened

The marketplace is important for any society. People buy goods they need and traders earn their daily bread. The City of Nairobi has recently seen development of large shopping malls. Targeting the upper and middle classes, they have classy restaurants, large supermarkets and secure parking. The recent increase in road and highway construction, together with [Read More]

February 14 2014
How Walkable is Nairobi’s Central Business District?

Are you comfortable walking in your city? After parking your car or getting off a bus, do you agonize at the fact that you must take a walk through crowded streets to your destination? ‘Walkability’ is not discussed frequently in African cities. However, the ever rising urban population and increased human traffic is raising questions [Read More]

January 31 2014
Outdoor Advertising: A Right or Privilege in Nairobi?

The Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) is one of the most iconic buildings in Nairobi and literally defines the capital city’s skyline. Completed in 1973, it is a stunning 105-meter mega structure of twenty-eight floors. It has a helipad on its roof and a revolving restaurant on the top floor. Its unique shape and towering [Read More]

January 17 2014
Nairobi’s Failure to Protect Pedestrians

Taking a walk in the tropics is not an easy task. The skies are clear, sun is burning and temperatures are high. This is even harder in urban centres that experience slightly higher temperatures due to buildings, asphalt, and industrial activities; better known as the ‘urban heat island effect.’ Walking, however, remains a very popular [Read More]

January 03 2014
Will Nairobi Maintain its Status as the “Green City in the Sun?�

There is something distinctly noticeable when you look at a map of Nairobi. The southern line of the metropolitan area is bordered by a national park, while the southern line of the Central Business District is bordered by an urban park, golf course, and an array of sports grounds. Nairobi, Kenya is known as the [Read More]

December 20 2013
The “Man-Eat-Man� Mentality of Nairobi Roads

The traffic lights go red, and drivers continue to drive. Only a near collision with another vehicle will make someone stop. The Nairobi road culture is interesting, a culture where red may mean go and green may mean stop. Even with the new digital traffic lights that synchronize and indicate time, drivers will try to [Read More]

December 06 2013
Who is to Blame for Nairobi’s Water Shortages?

Do all people have access to the water they need? The City of Nairobi draft master plan of 2013 acknowledges shortage of water supply and lack of sufficient infrastructure for water provision as a major problem. Nairobi’s water comes from Sasumua Dam, Thika Dam, Ruiru Dam and Kikuyu Springs, all located outside the city. Ground [Read More]

November 22 2013
Matatus: Nairobi’s Leader of Transportation Since 1973

Mobility, sustainability, and identity are three key elements for good cities. Developed economies enjoy public transport systems with fixed routes, schedules, and pricing; but this is not the case in developing countries. In Africa, citizens use a variety of means to get around, ranging from small minibuses to riding on the back of motorcycles. Nairobi [Read More]

November 08 2013
Let’s Build Roads in Africa!

‘I will build new roads’ is a promise all politicians in Africa make to their people. This happens in spite of their constituents being well aware that the main means of travel they use may be non-motorized. In cities, however, many see roads as critical for inter and intra-urban mobility. The last decade has seen [Read More]



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