The use and management of open spaces in low income residential neighbourhoods in Nairobi
Provision of open spaces in Kenya's urban areas especially in Nairobi has tended to be a matter of standards provided in Town Planning guidelines. There is very little response to changes in people's socioeconomic and political lives, which constantly shape and influence the level of use and participation in recreation. This trend has worked to downplay the main objectives of open space provision in neighborhood planning spearheaded by the 19th Century Town planning movement. As key elements in neighborhood planning, open spaces were seen by early town planners as forums and means through, which community life develops. This expectation cannot be realized in Nairobi where the planners and residents perceive urban open spaces differently, thus presenting a conflict between the expectations of the users (residents) and those of the planners. To put the study into perspective, three residential estates (Bahati, Uhuru and Umoja II), all developed at different periods of Nairobi's urban development have been studied.' The estates are located within Nairobi's East lands, a predominantly low income housing region but showing significant heterogeneity in levels of open space provision and use. The study through focused on the level of community participation in planning and management of open spaces. The study is handy at this period as more high density residential development continues to be put up in Nairobi's Eastlands. Developers and City Authority could avoid a repetition of the current situation by taking note of the discussions and recommendations presented in this work.