Assessing the effects of urban sprawl on agricultural land: A case study of Ruaka – Kiambu District

Urbanization in Kenya has been occurring at high rate of 7.0% p.a. Consequently urban areas have
been expanding and in the context of this, land has been experiencing high pressure to accommodate all
the activities. Previously agricultural land has been converted to accommodate housing and other
developments that accompany urban centers. Tracks of land meant for other uses such as agricultural
or forestry have been experiencing subdivisions in order to accommodate the emerging land use needs
and requirements.
Kihoto residential estate is one of those areas experiencing intense and uncontrolled development. The
land initially meant for agricultural use has been subdivided and mainly dominated by housing
developments. The uncontrolled development has inevitably been accompanied by numerous land use
problems. This research study was undertaken to find out and analyze the problems created by the
uncontrolled development. Data was collected from the field and through analysis of various
publications.
The research identified a number of effects of the uncontrolled development in the area. These effects
mainly includes pollution of the lake, poor accessibility within the estate, inadequate provision of social
and physical infrastructure, haphazard development manifested by disorganized street patterns poor
housing conditions, poor living standards and unauthorized development in to the riparian reserves.
After the analysis, a conclusion was drawn that, the principle of sustainable development should be
adopted in order to solve the problems amicably and reduce the suffering of the resident population and
other stakeholders. Against this backdrop the following recommendations were proposed namely;
adherence to the existing
planning standards, regulations and guidelines on lake riparian reserve, preparation of local physical
development plan with good zoning standards to guide developments in the area, special relocation of
activities, and reorganization or redevelopment of some residential quarters with acute spatial planning
problems.

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