Residents' Participation in Neighbourhood Management and Maintenance-Experiences and Lessons from Nairobi, Kenya
Olima, Washington H.A
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Kenya has been faced with challenges of planning, development and management of its urban residential neighbourhoods. Any residential neighbourhood should have a well-defined spatial and social entity so as to give meaning to urban environment. In Nairobi, for instance, the largest part of urban land is zoned for residential areas, giving the city its image and identity. Of the total residential land in Nairobi, 5 percent comprises of informal settlements accommodating about 70 percent of Nairobi’s over 3 million population. The rest of the land, representing 95 percent is home to about 30 percent of the urban population, is developed with housing of different design and categories. The rot in Nairobi as in other towns in Kenya is clearly a case of ineptitude and negligence of local authorities entrusted with responsibilities of ensuring order. Due to the failure by the local authorities and other relevant government agencies, residents have taken it upon themselves to participate in the neighbourhood planning, development and management. The change of land uses is also causing the city to sprawl and expand in its periphery leading to the emergence of more suburban residential areas. The paper adopted a case study methodological approach by focusing on selected residential neighbourhood within the City of Nairobi to undertake an in-depth analysis. The main objective of this paper is to assess the response and nature of participation of neighbourhood residents in the activities that are geared towards improving the quality of the neighbourhoods. The issues of revitalization of decayed neighbourhoods are highlighted. The findings form a sound basis for policy intervention by examining the different intervention strategies.