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CURI Newsletter

Putting the newly enacted land laws into perspective

In a preceding article, we looked at how the new land laws have altered the property market. The list could not be exhaustive and here is a further review.

Are You Gainer Or Loser With The New Land-Related Laws?


The Mukuru Kwa Njenga Upgrading Project




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Mukuru kwa Njenga Upgrading Plan

Providing a decent living environment for the urban poor in developing countries remains a complex undertaking of multifaceted nature; this is especially so where the concept of human settlement is viewed as both product and process. The situation is further complicated by lack of finance, access to land, security of tenure, and restrictive regulatory bottlenecks. Dwindling support for research in human settlements, especially housing for the poor has had a coupling effect to the indifference that interventions in this area have yielded. Together, these deficiencies seem to induce a vicious cycle; yet the situation can be improved significantly with the right attitude and commitment.

This report on Mukuru, undertaken by CURI in partnership with AMT, MuST, and Muungano wa Wanavijiji, adopted an investigative approach to expose, but also attempt to address, the problematic situation engendered by inaccessibility of land for housing the urban poor; insecurity of tenure; the disconnect between formal (government-led) and alternative approaches to settlement upgrading and housing delivery; and the failure to embrace a truly participatory approach in seeking appropriate solutions for sustainable urban planning and better livelihoods. The timeliness of this work cannot be overemphasized, Kenya being a signatory of numerous human rights based conventions in areas that include housing and water and sanitation. Key national policies in Kenya, including those touching on slum interventions have been aligned to key universal policies such as the Millennium Development Goals. AMT and partners remain committed to the plight of the inadequately housed urban communities living in the informal settlements, through research and innovative interventions. We believe that well-researched urban environments provide opportunities for fruitful intervention. This report is a means to that end. We commend its utilization by all those committed to the innovation and promotion of appropriate solutions for amelioration of the human settlement adversities facing the urban poor.

Mabatini Informal Settlement Upgrading Plan

The planning for Mabatini Informal Settlement was initiated in 2008 as a response to the community’s request for a planning undertaking to help in the appeal for, and approval of, a Part Development Plan (PDP) by the Minister in charge of lands, through the City Council of Nairobi. The purpose of the PDP would be to justify the alienation and allocation of land to the community of Mabatini estimated at 400 households, who at the time of preparation of this plan occupied the land without security of tenure. It was a requirement that such an application be accompanied by an indication of how the land in question would be organized and used, hence this settlement upgrading advisory plan. Preparation of the plan was participatory in nature and saw the convergence of the community, regulatory institutions, civil society, and the university working in collaboration anchored on three key principles, namely, negotiated and participatory city building process; bridging the urban divide and safeguarding the right to the city; and capacity building. Peer exchanges and reviews also helped in the search and appreciation of emerging best practices. This plan is a culmination of four years of such broad-based collaborative work.

The study utilized a broad spectrum of data from various sources; secondary data was largely from review of key policy provisions as enshrined in relevant documents such as The UN Millennium Development Goals, Kenya Vision 2030, The Constitution of Kenya, Sessional Paper No. 3 of 2009 on National Land Policy, and Sessional Paper No. 3, July 2004 on National Housing Policy. There was also review of relevant upgrading projects such as the Kenya Slum Upgrading Program (KENSUP) and Kenya Informal Settlement Improvement Project (KISIP). Primary data was collected directly from the field using various techniques such as site inventories, enumerations, mapping, and focus group discussions. The main analytical areas articulated in this plan included population and socio-economic characteristics; ownership and tenure status; physical & environmental characteristics; land use; infrastructure and utility services; and community facilities and social living.The analytical and prescriptive stages of this work entailed a series of studio work sessions and community planning forums that culminated in a multi-stakeholder workshop, where the final design was discussed and endorsed with minor modifications.

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