AN ASSESSMENT OF URBAN DECAY IN NAIROBI’S INNER CITY AND ITS IMPLICATIONS ON URBAN ACTIVITIES: A CASE STUDY OF KIRINYAGA ROAD ACTIVITY CORRIDOR

Abstract

Urban decay has been a matter of public concern for many years.However, urban decay in the inner city has not been given a platform in the planning agenda in Kenya. While the urban decay discussion in Kenya has been primarily related to the proliferation of slum areas as well as the renewal of depressed urban residential neighbourhoods, urban decay in the inner city has emerged as an equally potent phenomenon with a cross cutting impact on the urban environment. This study focusses on identifying the indicators of urban decay within the Kirinyaga road activity corridor and their planning implications on the urban environment, as the initial step in attempting to formulate a framework for inner city renewal.
The study commenced with the formulation of a research proposal which encapsulated the various conditions that gave alert to the urban decay problem within the activity corridor. This is the basis upon which the research project was built. Review of relevant literature provided a strong and informed background while conducting field surveys and data collection. This culminated in the analysis of the findings and the advancing of various recommendations as probable solutions to the pressing urban concern.
The study revealed that urban decay has manifested itself within the inner city as evidenced by the various indicators marked out. This phenomenon has triggered the gradual but definite changes in the socio-economic and environmental constitution of the Kirinyaga road activity corridor – massive environmental degradation, impoverished building stock and overstretched support facilities, informal and unsustainable economic activities, insecurity - all of which have led to private and public disinvestment in the study area. These developments occur within the context of a feeble planning framework and a rapidly urbanising metropolis.
The field study prescribes a comprehensive area based, rather than a site based urban renewal
strategy for the revitalisation of the activity corridor which will also include the Nairobi River riparian, which is a key feature in the sustainable development of the activity corridor. This process should be supported by a strong policy and monitoring framework, which in our case is comprehensive urban renewal legislation and authority.

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