55 IMPACTS OF THE SOUTHERN BYPASS ON MUTUINI SETTLEMENT IN DAGORETTI, NAIROBI

ABSTRACT
The research project explored the impacts of bypass road on human settlements. It focused on the
relationship between road transportation and settlement patterns, land use, mobility, urban design,
infrastructure facilities and then looked into the social, economic and environmental aspects resulting from
such impacts. The study considered the Southern Bypass road and its impacts on Mutuini settlements in
Dagoretti, Nairobi.
It examined the transportation - land - use theories with main focus being on Travel cost and housing cost
trade-off theory which assumes that households trade off the competing influence of housing cost and travel
cost in making their residential location decision. This implies, in geographic terms, that land values will be
higher close to a central business district and lower towards the periphery. While this is largely true in practice,
there are many complicating factors, both economic and non-economic. High-income households may not
have to trade off housing cost against travel cost, because they may be able to afford both. People who can
afford to live close to the CBD may elect not to because they wish to enjoy the amenities on offer in the
suburbs (e.g., environment, space, and for reasons of segregation). Because of the scarcity of available space in
central cities, outer areas generally offer a wider range of opportunities for the construction of new and
expensive houses. Also, transportation innovations may make outer locations more accessible to a CBD than
inner suburban areas. This is significant; jobs are increasingly relocating to peripheral sites (Torrens, 2000).
The above theory formed the theoretical basis for understanding the fact of expecting bypass to influence
settlements along its route, and it determines the extent to which such impacts can be dealt with in a planning
point of view. Many researchers have mainly focused on exploring how bypass affects the settlements and
their operation in the downtown area (CBD) unlike in the settlements within which it passes. Therefore, this
research identified the gap of the knowledge on the study of the effects a bypass poses on the settlements
along which it traverses and then the planning implication of such changes and how planning interventions
applicable in curbing the situation.
The Southern bypass is a unique one with its route passing through the Nairobi National Park, forests, wetlands
and settlements areas. This drew the attention for studying this bypass in Mutuini settlements. The study was
conducted using literature review, field collection of data through administration of semi-structured
questionnaires, direct interviews with residents and key informants in CCN and Ministry of Roads, the features
in the study area were observed, photos taken and sketches of the various situations and places of concern for
this study as well as the GPS coordinates of the area points recorded for analysis.
The data collected was analyzed using methods such as the cross tabulation in SPSS, plotting of GPS
coordinates and mapping them out using GIS. Qualitative data from the various key informants and Focuses Group Discussions was analyzed using triangulation while the spatial aspects were captured
in sketches, maps and photograph interpretation. The main findings of the analysis can be
summarized as follows; there was major influx of outsiders coming to reside in this area, increased
land subdivision and fragmentation, appreciation in land values, new land uses were noted,, mobility
and accessibility of this area improved, new businesses coming up, environmental degradation by
noise, vibrations and air quality (air pollution) environmental interruptions mainly experienced in the
settlements fronting the Southern bypass road.
The findings were synthesized and the outcomes were perceived to have spatial dimension and hence
planning interventions were key in solving the identified problems with the planning
recommendations. The study recommended the review of planning zoning regulations, urban design
principles, reorganization of the land use structure and preparation of plan to properly integrate the
bypass into the settlements for ease of connectivity, security and safety. The study concluded that the
Southern Bypass road has very sensitive impacts on the settlements, both positive and negative which
have varied planning implication and require planning interventions to coordinate the main land uses
factoring in spatial, social, economic and environmental aspects of the Mutuini settlement.

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