This research is a contribution to the growing discourse on contemporary challenges of urban
land use planning as with regards to the use of riparian zones. It begins with giving an insight
into the concept of the riparian reserve and discusses it within the context of land use planning
within the City of Nairobi. Thereafter, key theoretical and conceptual issues of the main subject
matter of space contestation are reviewed in the context of the riparian zone in the Nairobi River.
The main data needs for the research include; major land use activities along the riparian belt of
Ngara; the pull and push factors along the riparian belt; space standards and requirements for
development; manifestation of space contestation; and, cause and effects of space contestation.
Questionnaires and interviews among other forms of primary methods of data collection were
used to collect information from land users (105 respondents), professionals and public officers
in key government institutions while secondary data was mainly derived from library and
internet sources. Detailed observation and mapping techniques using a variety of tools was also
employed to capture the degree of the challenge of space contestation within the riparian zone of
the study area. The process of data collection was conducted with reference to the objectives of
this research which are highlighted as; the major land use activities along the riparian belt of
Ngara; main reasons driving the land users into the location; implication of locating along the
riparian zone; the nature, cause and effects of space contestation in the study area and the
possible negotiated spatial planning approaches that will enable the best use and management of
riparian zones as urban spaces.
According to the data findings, the identified causes of space contestation in the study area
include; negative user perception and sub-optimal design of space; relatively high population
against scarcity of land; limited awareness of space standards and requirements of land uses; the
need to locate appropriately/competitively; low level awareness of environmental and land use
standards and poor management and co-ordination of land use activities. The effects of
contestation include; encroachment; establishment of incompatible land uses; congestion;
relocation/ displacement; conflicts, demonstrations and battles and environmental degradation.
These findings were followed by necessary short and long term measures which will serve as
preventive and curative intervention to the ill challenge of space contestation. Notably, the
overarching vision of this project is towards a well-planned waterfront for environmental


meso - abs.pdf173.05 KB