Institutions vested with the mandate of managing land use in the fringe areas in Kenya are weak and inefficient which have led to widespread urban sprawl. Most of the legislations governing land use are often conflicting without clarity on very pertinent issues relating to land for example the minimum plot sizes in land that fall beyond the city and municipal council’s areas of jurisdiction. Weak and poor implementation has also led to ignorance of such policies which is evidenced by subdivision of prime agricultural into small uneconomical sizes for agriculture production, clearing of forests for human settlements, lack adherence of the planning standards and in general proliferation of land use conflicts.

Ruaka sub-location being within the Nairobi rural urban transition zone, the study tries to document and make inventory of the existing land uses and building developments in attempt to find out how they conform to the local development policies. The rapid land use changes  from agricultural to residential and massive subdivision of the land parcels into very small units puts into question the adherence of the same to the development policies of an area considered to be rural.

The study samples and critically looks into the existing developments in terms of user, shape and sizes of land parcels, interest held on the land, topography, and land prices and the general organization of the various structures in the individual plots. The buildings have been looked at in terms of plot ratios and coverages, heights, typologies, level of services and facilities, compliance to the health standards and the level of adherence to the building by-laws.

The research methodology used in the research study involves collection of both primary and secondary data. Primary data has been collected using structured questionnaires and interview schedules to various stakeholders e.g. land owners and the District Physical Planning Officer. Observation, photography and focus group discussions have also been used in the field during the research study. The secondary data comes from existing literature on the rural urban fringe. The data collected has been analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) after which the out put generated is used as an input in Microsoft excel to produce graphs and charts. Analyzed data is then presented using photographs, written descriptions, frequency tables, pie charts and bar graphs.