The Applicaton of planning standards in low cost - low income urban residential Areas
Kenya is experiencing a rapid urbanization growth. The population increase is both in terms of natural growth and rural - urban migration. As long as urban centers continue to offer better facilities, more employment, better housing, better health services, etc, they will still attract people from rural areas. More than IO percent of the country's population is now living in urban areas. , Urbanization itself is inevitable. A continued rate of urban growth is both a basic condition and an inherent consequence of socio-economic development. But as the urban growth takes place pressure is put on the already scarce urban resources: land is scarce and expensive, there are various activities claiming urban land; finance is also constrained and the supply of services becomes inadequate. The major component land uses which determine urban structure are: residential use, commercial use, industrial use, recreational use, transportation use and institutional use together, these use groups form the basis upon which urban living revolves. A balance in the allocation of urban space must be sought. This is where the planner comes in. It is the planner who has a pole in evaluating physical space needs and establishing space standards which are vital to the successful operation of the planning process. His knowledge is useful here since he understands the regional relationships of various plan elements; he possesses ability to locate and select sites because of his special knowledge and familiarity with the general plan; furthermore re he has knowledge of the means of coordinating projects effectively. The planner derives planning standards for the people he is planning for according to the community structure, life styles and pat tern expected. Residential use normally takes up the largest share of urban land. In our own experience its allocation among the income groups in terms of per capital land is very misappropriate: the low income groups live in high density over crowded residential areas; the high income groups live in spacious low density areas. This closely allows the earlier urban development pattern in pre-independence period when the white settler community lived in the more open, spread suburbs extending over large areas of land. The African urban population has congested in small high density residential quarters, reflecting the racial discrimination of the day. Since racial segregation no longer applies, the present residential pattern is more or less based on socio-economic grouping. The proportion to which urban land is allocated depends on various uses and to the application of planning standards. The choice of planning standards should not be a matter of hit and miss affair because it would make the use of urban land highly uneconomical and disorderly. The majority of people living in urban areas are low income groups. The requirement that most of the houses in urban areas will be for people of the low income groups and have to be constructed by and large through self reliance will have a profound impact on the layout of towns and residential neighborhoods. These types of residential areas must or necessity be made livable environment s. It becomes necessary to examine the application of planning standards in the urban Low cost, low income residential development. In this context, the criteria upon which such standards must be established should be examined. It is important to assess whether the standards applied in such areas are adequate or out context for our own situation. The author notes there are few studies done in this field. It is against this background that this study was thought necessary.