The Interaction Between Land Use Transformation And Crime Incidence In Dandora, Nairobi, Kenya
The link between the social and physical environment and violent crime occurrence and response is a complex one, which is not well explored. This study examines the interaction between land use transformation and violent crime incidence in Dandora, Nairobi, which is one of the most crime ridden neighbourhoods in the City. This is done in order to explain how land use related transformation underlies the complex spatial-social interaction of a place in relation to crime incidence. Currently, there are conflicting theoretical standpoints which relate certain land uses and densities to creation or inhibition of natural surveillance and dilution of social capital which determine crime response. Multi-contextual theory which combines routine activity and social disorganization theories is applied in this study since it enhances understanding of crime in relation to the interaction of people. It links the changing characteristics of a place informed by the type of land use and associated dynamics guiding various activities in the area with people’s behaviour either individually or collectively. This study was guided by a quasi-experimental research design informed by the types of land use and subsequent changes in land use in relation to crime incidence in the area, and impact of land use on crime incidence and coping mechanisms. The study utilized secondary data and 144 systematic random sampled household interviews, 121 stratified sampled business person interviews, 10 Key informant interviews and 3 in-depth interviews with residents and one focus group discussion with the Community Policing Committee members purposively sampled. Multi-criteria analysis approach was adopted in data analysis and discussion of the findings. The study findings indicate that infiltration of the Dandora neighbourhood project by speculative developers in the mid 1980s and the unregulated construction sector is the genesis of land use transformation. Other determinant factors and drivers since then are weak institutional capacity to manage and control development, housing demand and insecurity. Dandora Phase 4 is found to be the most transformed and Phase 1 the least transformed. The unregulated land use transformation serves to weaken the wider community cohesion and heighten socio-cultural and spatial segregation of residents. The study findings give credence to routine activity and social disorganization theories which are used to operationalize multi-contextual theory. This is based on the fact that transformation in Dandora is facilitating anonymity of vi space use and weakening social capital. The transformation of the neighbourhood development does not support eye on the street and defensible space principle. The study findings also indicate that transformation has negative implications on crime response mechanisms. The working and popular mechanisms of crime prevention were individually driven as opposed to communal. This may be attributed to perceptions and stereotypes of different ethnic groups, which leads to exclusion of others in community driven initiatives including community policing. The study concludes that land use transformation leads to variation in crime by 6.023 times. The study recommends mainstreaming of urban safety in planning, design and implementation of neighbourhood development. This may require that the City Planning Department expands its range of indicators and factors considered when approving plans to include safety measures. Land use planning and crime response mechanisms should take into account the unique features of crime distribution along land use by regularly profiling various land uses together with their designs and orientations and monitoring their functions in relation to crime incidence in neighbourhoods and in general urban spaces.