A comparative analysis of planning and management of cemeteries in Nairobi
This research focuses on planning and management of cemeteries as a land use in Nairobi County. As a comparative analysis, Nairobi War Cemetery and Lang'ata Cemetery have been used to draw lessons on how various cemeteries in Nairobi are planned and managed. The research undertakes an in-depth analysis of planning and management issues employed in the operation of the cemeteries in Nairobi, interrogates the dynamic cultural changes within the Nairobi City, the sustainable practices and requirements of cemeteries and possible planning and management intervention. Cemetery is the place for institutionalised burial practice and although burial land is of special meaning and importance to people, both the dead and the living, cemetery planning and management has long been ignored. The cemeteries capacity may be not enough to meet the increasing demand due to the fast increase of population and urbanization, and the indiscriminate placing of cemetery sites raise many conflicts between burial land and other kinds of land use because of its particular characteristics. The lack of planned and affordable land, which is the basic component of cemeteries calls for the responsibility of urban planners managers and policy makers to address the problem before the situation slips irretrievably out of control. A comprehensive review of burial practice is carried out in order to determine the elements involved in cemetery planning and management. Existing situation in the case study area is assessed to define the burial needs and requirements. As cemetery planning and management concerns both practical and immaterial issues, problem analysis is taken into account with a structured criteria system consist of institutional, environmental, social and cultural aspects. The study establishes that the main policy challenge is how to support and regulate the interment of dead bodies in order to promote employment, social and religious obligations for the urban growing populations, while at the same time ensuring safety, health and socially acceptable environment. The study calls for a mixture of interventions in containing the negative impacts of the social activities in the urban areas without causing social and religious distress, promoting awareness on benefits of other interment methods while guaranteeing cultural and social rights and using planning as a tool to address social and cultural challenges in urban areas.