Institutional framework for the management of periurban areas in Kenya: the case of Ongata Rongai
The ambiguity of the peri-urban area, which is split between urban and rural jurisdictional boundaries, presents significant governance challenges. The separate jurisdictions have different resources, capacities and political leanings, making coordinated management difficult. There are often contradictory and in some instances absent regulatory frameworks, breeding a situation of ‘organized irresponsibility’. This study was designed to examine the efficacy of existing legislation and institutions in guiding development of Ongata Rongai, one of the peri-urban areas outside the gazetted boundary of Nairobi city, and to propose an institutional framework that could be used in the management of the town in order to achieve orderly, planned and well serviced development. To achieve this, the shortcomings of peri-urban governance were examined and the best governance practices in other countries explored. Legislative and institutional frameworks through which land ownership and land-use planning takes place were examined. Finally, impediments to planning and management in Ongata Rongai were investigated. Data was collected through questionnaires administered to residents and business people, interviews with key informants, focused group discussions, traverse observations and review of secondary data. Simple Random sampling was used in primary data collection. Data analysis was though qualitative and quantitative techniques. The findings revealed that planning and management in Ongata Rongai is piecemeal and uncoordinated. The provisions of the Physical Planning Act are not enforced by officers from the Physical Planning Department, County Council of Olkejuado and City Council of Nairobi. It also emerged that peri-urban areas serve many interests. While some of the developments are inherently private and their development rationale economic gain, others are public goods that require government support. In order to effectively manage peri-urban areas, a structure that facilitates planning, the Periurban Planning Authority (PuPA), is recommended. This authority would comprise institutionalized public-private partnerships bringing together stakeholders from the national and county governments, civic organizations, business and residential community and religious organizations as managers of the peri-urban area.