Assessing the spatial challenges facing the cultural industry in urban areas. Case study of Nairobi Central Business District Civic Precinct

The Maasai Market is a unique Kenyan cultural handicraft market that represents a cross
cultural space. The market is also a place where individuals with different cultural backgrounds
produce, showcase and sell artifacts within and outside Nairobi City. It is thus important as it is a
source of employment for over 2000 vendors.
Currently, the Maasai Market operations are hampered by lack of a permanent operational
space, insufficient vending space in the current location, lack of basic sanitary facilities such as
dustbins, toilets among others and lack of market infrastructures like stalls, shaded areas and
storage facilities, all of which culminate to the fact that the market operates on an encroached
space (temporary location). These operational challenges prompted the study. The study also
examined aspects of space utilisation and provision by CCN to the market vendors in a bid to
comprehend the various space requirements of the various cultural wares and artifacts sold
within the market. All the identification of compatible land uses such as recreation activities
within the market also prompted the study. Through this research it emerged that the lack of a
permanent operation space is and will continue to ameliorate the problems in the market. Also,
lack of proper legislation and poor enforcement of CCN by-laws further contributed to this
Thus, the study recommends re-establishment of the Maasai Market through the relocation of
the market to a permanent location by the CCN as well as provision of design and policy
guidelines for such market that can be replicated. Parameters for relocating the Maasai Market
identified are: ease of accessibility which is convenient for both the vendors and the users,
space availability for a permanent location, guarantee of economic demand and cost of
construction and operation.
General conclusions that can be derived from the study are that alternative locations and forms
of the Maasai Market include: built form incorporating the market function within an existing
recreational park of public open space or redistributing the market activities within the city can
provide a suitable location.
Thus it is the view of this study that further research should be undertaken and focus in
specifically creating a place making market model that is suitable for replication of similar
cultural market in other towns and cities within Kenya and beyond and that can be used to
identify the Kenyan people.


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