Assessing the planning problems in the provision of social facilities in low-income residential neighbourhoods: Case study of Pumwani Estate, Nairobi

The provision of community facilities in urban low income areas has been very inadequate
over the years. Yet these areas harbour the largest percentage of urban population. In Kenya for instance about 35% of the urban population live in slums. In the case of Nairobi, it is estimated that up to 60% of the population live in slums and informal settlements, (Kenya country report, 2010).Despite these statistics, the government has failed to enable the residents enjoy their right to the city that carries forth the fundamental element of access to quality environment. Access to community centres by majority of slum dwellers has been an elusive venture for far too long. Yet it is the only means where the community can come together and share their views, enhance cohesion as well as get empowered socially and economically.

This study seeks to unravel the constraints that have so far impeded the provision of
community centres in such urban enclaves. The study is based in Bondeni settlement in
Nairobi. It aims to examine the challenges and recommend possible solution for them in
order to pave way for easy provision of the facilities.

This study was done within the boundary of Bondeni village in Mathare. It relied on
qualitative and quantitative data which was collected using probabilistic and non probabilistic data collection techniques. The target population were Bondeni residents and other key informants who have interests in development endeavours within Bondeni.
The study established that the settlement lacks a formal community centre and the residents desperately rely on shanty structures as their community centre. The appalling conditions are the clear manifestation of neglect of these areas. The study found that the problem of insecure land tenure, disregard by the government in budgetary allocation for service provision, poor institutional linkages, stringent policies and by laws, meager infrastructure network and support services, poor planning and poverty are the major stumbling blocks in pursuit to provide a sustainable community centre that can well meet the needs of the Bondeni residents.

The study raps up by recommending several measures that have to be enforced for the
effective provision of community centres in low income areas. These interventions include
Integrated institutional approach in the provision of community centres and related facilities in Bondeni settlement, availing security of tenure and ownership rights to the residents,review of the existing planning and building regulations, improving the infrastructurenetwork, Community involvement in development affairs, integrating community centres provision in slum upgrading program, channeling of more devolved funds to slum areas,enhancing civil society and private sector capacities to encourage partnership with the public


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