The first phase of the Nairobi Collaborative Urban Studio themed ‘Improving Access to Justice and Basic Services in Kenyan Slums’ came to a close on the 17th January 2014. The studio involved participants from University of Nairobi, Department of Urban and Regional Planning (DURP), University of California, Berkley, Akiba Mashinani Trust (AMT), Muungano wa Wanavijiji and the community of Mukuru Informal Settlement.
The studio comprised of a series of stakeholder consultations, field visits, presentations by resource persons, group working sessions and plenary discussions. These were employed to better understand the challenges facing access to basic needs in the informal settlements. The field trips covered various slums in Nairobi: Mathare Valley, Huruma, Mukuru Kwa Njenga, Mukuru Kwa Reuben and Kibera. With such visits, the team got a first-hand understanding on the existing conditions in the informal settlements. The team also took time to find out about various slum upgrading initiatives that have been carried out. Such initiatives include the Kambi-Moto In-situ Slum Upgrading initiative the Kibera Soweto East upgrading initiative under the Kenya Slum Upgrading Programme – KENSUP, Korogocho participatory slum upgrading initiative by UN-HABITAT, Mukuru Kwa Njenga Greenfields project on housing (by Mukuru Community with support from Akiba Mashinani Trust - AMT).
The team also visited the Department of Housing, Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, the Nairobi City County, and the UN-Habitat- Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme unit to enquire more on their projects. Such projects provided a vast insight on slum upgrading initiatives in Kenya. Kambi Moto project is a unique case of in-situ community-led slum upgrading while the Kibera project is a Government-led housing project.
During working sessions the team sought to analyze the data, prepare a report of the current situation and proposals for upgrading. The studio focused on three questions: the link between access to basic services and community health; options for financing slum upgrading; and preparing an integrated spatial neighborhood plan for mainstreaming slum upgrading. In the coming months the team will work separately to refine the proposals for the three assignment.
James Wanyoike (31st January 2014)