Urban management challenges facing emerging towns in Kenya: a case study of Kiserian Market Centre in Kajiado County
Kiserian Market Center is one of the rapidly growing urban centers in Kajiado County. The challenge is that although the area has grown beyond the status of a rural market; having surpassed the 2,000 population threshold, its management is still under a county council which sits hundreds of kilometres away in Kajiado Town. This is worsened further by lack of an institutional, legal and policy framework to support the Kiserian spatial growth form from rural to an urban growth nucleus. In order to effectively address the urban management issues in Kiserian Market Center, this study was designed purposefully to: evaluate the nature and context of existing legislative and institutional policy framework applicable in the urban management of Kiserian; explore the urban management challenges facing Kiserian Market Centre and some of the possible opportunities accruable from the identified urban management challenges & the new constitutional dispensation in Kenya. Ultimately, the study proposed intervention measures that would transform the town into a more viable, live-able, functional and sustainable urban area in the region. To achieve the purpose of the study, both primary and secondary data were collected through an interactive and evaluative field survey; using FGDs, household, institutional and business questionnaires, oral interview schedules, observation guides, photography, as well as critical and systematic review of literature. Results from the study indicated that the urban management process in the study area is riddled with a number of challenges with far reaching environmental, infrastructural, legislative, governance, economic, social and cultural implications. However, there exist several opportunities in the area of study that would give rise to a more viable, live-able, functional and sustainable Kiserian Market Center if exploited in an effective and sustainable manner. The study recommends among other things, the adoption of an integrated and participatory urban management approach that is people centred. It also recommends the entire re-look of the spatial planning framework of the area of study with its associated governance and 'would be' administrative consequences being mitigated and tailored towards the formation of a spatial functional whole. The recommendations are categorized as shot-term and long-term. These recommendations can also be replicated in other urban centres with similar characteristics.