24-hour urban economy in Nairobi, Kenya: Realities, fictions and practices
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Nairobi is probably one of the largest and best-known cosmopolitan African capital cities. Nairobi was first established in 1899 as a transportation and administrative centre, which later grew to become the capital of Kenya and a city. It is by far the smallest administrative province in Kenya, but also the most important in terms of employment, socio-economic activities and functions it performs. Apart from being the capital city of Kenya, it is the largest urban centre in the country, a regional hub in East and Central Africa, as well as the headquarters for many international and regional organizations, institutions and companies. Given the importance of Nairobi not only in Kenya but also regionally, sustainable and inclusive city governance is a key component in its future growth and development. As urbanization is inevitable, the main challenge is how to cope with rapid urban growth and how to prepare for the future. As such, any urban development and management policy should aim at guiding the urbanization process by reducing the risks and maximizing the opportunities. One of the opportunities that exist is making the city of Nairobi a 24-hour economy. This chapter explores the opportunities and challenges towards realizing a 24-hour city economy in Nairobi. The discussion is however limited by the fact that the 24-hour city economy in sub-Saharan Africa is a complex subject, and one on which there is still little published (empirical) information. The chapter is divided into three parts. The first part discusses the realities and fictions of a 24-hour economy. While the second part explores the opportunities that exist for Nairobi to becoming a 24-hour city economy, the last part discussed the challenges that the city might face in achieving the same.