AN EVALUATION OF THE FUNCTIONALITY OF THE KALOLENI NEIGHBOURHOOD CENTRE

Over the past century, inner city areas have seen a great deal of transition, from powerhouse city
areas to almost dilapidated slums. These areas can be the hub of a city‘s economic and cultural
life, but it can also be the stigma of a city‘s problems. It is easily one of the most dynamic
regions of a city. The context is formal housing estates in the Kenyan capital city of Nairobi
whose genesis was the production strategies of public institutions with special consideration of
Kaloleni Neighbourhood Centre.
This Research Project investigates the functionality of the Kaloleni Neighbourhood Centre.
Kaloleni is one of the estates in Kenya which owes its design to the Neighbourhood Unit
Concept. One of the best planning concept for any residential neighbourhood. The Centre was
established to cater for social, economic and environmental needs of the residents. It has various
community facilities, central open space and shopping facilities.
The study involved data collection through both primary and secondary data collection methods.
This involved review of published and unpublished previous studies both academic and research
based from the secondary data and the administration of questionnaires and interview schedules
for primary data respectively.
The study established various functional and form transformations in the Neighbourhood Centre
most of which are negative. Several form and locational obsolescence are attributed to these
transformations. One of the chief catalysts of transformations is the upsurge of informal
businesses within the estate almost bringing the shopping center to its knees due to stiff
competition. The inability of the Centre to provide higher order goods and services is also
identified as one of the causes of its decline. From a futuristic point of view, if the current
situation is not rectified especially through redevelopment, then the Centre is likely to continue
experiencing functional and form decay to the point of total decline.
Redevelopment as a method of revitalizing the Centre is recommended. Due to space constraints,
the best method of redevelopment is through use of vertical mix-use developments. These types
of development will be able to increase both residential and commercial populations while at the
same time being able to accommodate more welfare and general community services. Provision
of hierarchy of goods and services is also recommended within the neighbourhood. This will
involve formalization of the informal businesses within the residential clusters to provide loworder
goods while the Centre will provide high-order goods.

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