Challenges of urban redevelopment on green spaces in Nairobi: A case study of Kileleshwa.

Cities all over the world metamorphose. This metamorphosis is shaped by many forces which are
economic, social, physical/spatial, cultural, political, environmental and institutional in nature.
The changes bring about challenges and opportunities which require innovative planning
interventions. The exponential rate of urbanization due to an ever-growing population exerts
very powerful forces to urban residential areas, making them undergo internal spatial
restructuring in response to social and economic pressures (Couch 1990).These socio-economic
changes create demand for land and infrastructure and services such as commercial facilities
inevitably leading to increased requisition for the reorganization and the restructuring of the
urban fabric. With the finite land use resource the scope of choice in urban areas will entail
densification, infilling, intensification of land use or redevelopment particularly affecting derelict
land or low-density and sub-optimally utilized residential areas.
There is rapid redevelopment taking place in Kileleshwa area of Nairobi. This area was
originally planned for single dwelling bungalows on a minimum area of 0.2 hectare, that are
demolished to build multi storey flats/or apartments that now accommodate up to 40 families.
This means 40 times densification of what was initially planned for. Some other plots have been
developed into multi storey flats. This has resulted in more demand for infrastructure and
services such as commercial facilities to appropriately support the rising population. An
emerging challenge lies in the shifting character of the area due to the fact that the initial
densification was lateral; then maisonettes were developed to replace the old bungalows
followed by flats/ or apartments resulting in vertical densification.
The purpose therefore of this study was to find out the impacts of urban redevelopment on
commercial facilities in Kileleshwa. The objectives of the study were to examine development
changes that have taken place in Kileleshwa since its establishment, to find out the factors that
have necessitated these development changes, to establish the effects and implications of these
development changes on commercial facilities and to suggest policy guidelines to achieve
provision of sustainable commercial facilities in Kileleshwa.

The justification and significance of this study is that it will help formulate a policy framework
that would assist to guide redevelopment of the study area to make them achieve harmony,
convenience, compatibility and amenity, hence sustainability.
The study area is within zone 4 area of the City Council of Nairobi zoning. It is bounded by
Mandera road and Laikipia road to the North, Tebere Close to the South, Githunguri Road to the
East and Gatundu and Nyeri road to the West.
The methodology involved the collection of relevant secondary and primary data from various
sources. These included administering household questionnaires, interview schedules on various
institutions, field survey observations and photography. SPSS was used to analyze household
questionnaires, while other details were confirmed through field surveys such as the changing
character and trends of the area. From the analysis and synthesis of the findings, a number of
issues were brought out against the achievement of sustainable redevelopment.
The findings established that there were development changes taking place in Kileleshwa from
single dwelling bungalows to maisonettes then flats/apartments resulting in densification. This
strains the existing infrastructure and services demanding for appropriate upgrading. Commercial
facilities were also inadequate in the area as they could not meet the demands of the residents
who had to do their shopping in areas outside Kileleshwa such as City Centre, Westlands and
Yaya Centre.
From the findings it was recommended that there should be a commercial centre in place to serve
the area residents, flexible policy guidelines to guide redevelopments and they should be
reviewed regularly with the involvement of the community and all the relevant stakeholders and
upgrading of infrastructure and services.
It was concluded that there were impacts of urban redevelopment in Kileleshwa that requires to
be addressed to achieve sustainable redevelopment.

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