AN ASSESSMENT OF URBAN DECAY IN RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBOURHOODS: A CASE STUDY OF JERUSALEM ESTATE, EASTLANDS, NAIROBI

ABSTRACT
Cities all over the world undergo change. This change is characterized by many forces which are social, economic, environmental, physical/spatial, cultural, political and institutional in nature. The changes bring about challenges and opportunities which require innovative planning interventions. Urban decay is manifested in the form of Social decay, Economic decline, Physical and environmental degradation and institutional and management decay. Nairobi like other cities in the World has experienced decay. This urban decay has mostly been witnessed affecting old residential areas, old industrial areas and recreational areas such as rivers. Jerusalem Estate is one of the estates in Nairobi City County that have been affected by urban decay. The study therefore set out to examine urban decay in Jerusalem Estate with respect to social, economic, environmental and institutional aspects and propose ways of ensuring that it meets both current and future needs.
The study involved secondary and primary data collection approaches, a field survey was carried out by involving the households through the use of household questionnaires and key informants through the use of interview schedules. Data collected from the primary sources is presented in chapter three and four in the form of photos, written texts, pie charts and bar graphs which brings out a clear picture of the situation on the ground.
The research revealed that there was inadequate technical, financial, and institutional capacity within the Nairobi City County Government in its management and maintenance of Jerusalem Estate, in its enforcement of policies and in the implementation of the prepared renewal plans, high rates of poverty among the residents in Jerusalem Estate which may be partly attributed to decay in the residential neighbourhood. The findings of the research show that inadequate maintenance of the previous good status and image of the estate could be attributed to the inadequate social cohesion among the residents, inadequate capacity of the residents to maintain and repair their houses and other infrastructure services. The research revealed that poor solid waste management and maintenance of the sewerage and drainage system led to sanitation problems and hence to a deteriorated healthy environment for residents to live in. The research further indicated that poverty and unemployment status among the residents resulted to crime and insecurity issues in Jerusalem Estate. According to the findings of the research, the decaying
condition of Jerusalem Estate could be attributed to the ageing condition of the estate since the Estate was built in 1959. In addition, the findings indicated that age had come with exceeded capacity of the infrastructure due to the growth of the Estate.
The interventions by the area residents to address the challenges they face are indications of their needs all of which must be incorporated in the chosen re-planning model. In this regard, the renewal approach should holistically address all the issues of urban decay all over the estate. There are two possible renewal models for the estate examined which includes; rehabilitation and repair and the integrated approach. All the alternatives have their pros and cons. However, under careful evaluation, the one which addresses fully the problem of urban decay and has greater economic gains was chosen.
Thus, the study recommended an integrated approach of the estate by observing measures that promote sustainability. The new developments will comprise recreational, commercial, public utility, transportation and residential land uses at the site of development which is the waterfront of Jerusalem Estate. The integrated approach will encompass several aspects which include: provision of a range of affordable and quality housing typologies, encouraging community and stakeholder participation, mixing of land uses and provision of quality public spaces and recreational areas.