Factors influencing quality of life in urban areas: a case of Satellite towns in Nairobi
Adongo, Susan S
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Rapid growth of Nairobi and sprawl into the immediate satellite towns around it is due to increase in population in the last decades. With an estimated population of about 3.1 million residents, Nairobi is experiencing sprawl. Livable urban areas should provide its residents with adequate sanitation, housing, transportation, access to basic services, economic and employment opportunities; however, rapid urbanization and sprawl has led to several discernible consequences which include: housing deficit due to inadequacy and inaccessibility, inability of urban formal economy to generate sufficient employment and economic opportunities, severe shortfalls in provision of physical infrastructure services, lack of elaborate urban transport to cater for high mobility needs of the growing population, health and sanitation problems. This study is therefore intended to find out the factors influencing quality of life in Nairobi's satellite towns. The literature reviewed showed that the factors influencing quality of life included: Demand for housing, physical infrastructure provision, transport and mobility, economic and employment opportunities and finally health and sanitation. The study used descriptive survey research design. It was carried out on 198 respondents from 176 households in Nairobi core, Mulolongo and Kiambu towns selected through stratified and geographical random sampling methods. The study adopted questionnaires, interview schedules and inventory checklist as data collection instruments which were administered through the help of research assistants. The data collected was analyzed using descriptive and econometric analysis aided with SPSS software. The findings of the studies were that quality of life is influenced by: inadequate housing, inaccessibility to physical infrastructure by majority of the lower income groups, traffic jams on the roads, dominant informal economy with numerous industries as major employers operating in isolation, health and sanitation problems. The main conclusion was that urban residents especially women of low economic status experience low quality of life. The study then recommended some intervention measures such as: creating favorable structures for partnerships and preparation of effective strategic development plans for urban areas that will enhance quality of life.