For town and country: a new approach to urban planning in Kenya

In this timely Policy Voice, Professor Peter Ngau describes in detail how he and colleagues at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning (DURP) at the University of Nairobi – and other institutions – have sought to revitalise the education and training that planners receive and encourage the adoption of more progressive approaches among planning professionals. Curricula reform, research and innovation, close links…

“You Are All Terrorists”: Kenyan Police Abuse of Refugees in Nairobi

This 68-page report was based on interviews with 101 refugees, asylum seekers, and Kenyans of Somali ethnicity. The report documents how police used grenade and other attacks by unknown people in Nairobi’s mainly Somali suburb of Eastleigh and a government order to relocate urban refugees to refugee camps as an excuse to rape, beat, extort money from, and arbitrarily detain…

Malawi Reports: Urban Profiles of Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Zomba

UNHabitat released a series of urban profiles on Malawian cities Blantyre, Lilongwe, Zomba and Mzuzu, as well as a National Urban Profile. The Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP) is an accelerated and action-oriented urban assessment of needs and capacity-building gaps at national and local levels. It is currently being implemented in over 30 countries in Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific Region.

WIEGO briefs on informal employment in South Africa, Ghana and Kenya

Four briefs written by Debbie Budlender at Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) illustrate statisics on informal employment in South Africa, Ghana and Kenya respectively. The South African brief provides methodological insight, while the Ghana and Kenya briefs provide fact sheets on informal employment. Measuring Informal Employment in South Africa: The New Quarterly Labour Force Survey discusses how…

The Case of Nairobi, Kenya

Urbanisation in Kenya has a long history with urban agglomeration in the form of trading centres being found along the Kenyan coast as early as the 9th Century AD (Obudho 1988: 3) . However, the growth of many urban centres can be traced to the pre-independence period when they were used as centres of administrative and political control by the colonial authorities (UNCHS 1985). The proportion of Kenyans living in urban centres increased from 5.1 percent in 1948 to 15.1 percent in 1979, to 18.0 percent in 1989 and 34.8 per cent in 2000. There are…

The Case of Durban, South Africa

Recent critical reflection on post-Apartheid housing, urban development and other policies is, however, highlighting a number of weaknesses that reveal a failure to adequately address the spatial and socio-economic legacies of the past and sustain the positive impact of infrastructural interventions (cf. BESG 1999; Charlton 2001).

The Case of Lusaka, Zambia

Lusaka is the capital city of Zambia, a country in the Central African Plateau with an average altitude of 1,000 to 1,400 m above sea level. Zambia is generally considered to be a Southern African country, because of its strong social and economic ties with the countries in the Southern African sub-continent rather than those in Central and Eastern Africa. Zambia lies between latitudes 100º and 180º south and 220º and 330º east. It is landlocked and shares borders with eight neighbouring countries. Zambia has a land area of 752,614 km and a population of just over 10 million…

A World Class African Metropolis

When it was formed in 2008, critics hastily dismissed the Ministry of Nairobi Metropolitan Development as unnecessary political baggage for the taxpayer and even predicted that it would be a flop. But the first Minister to hold the docket, Mr Mutula Kilonzo, now Justice Minister, shrugs off such insinuations: “We want to transform Nairobi into a major wealth creation hub that will change the lifestyle of its residents”. Pointing out that his vision…

Cities and Biodiversity Outlook —Action and Policy

CBO – Action and Policy provides the summary of a global assessment of the links between urbanization, biodi- versity, and ecosystem services. Drawing on contributions from more than 120 scientists and policy-makers from around the world, it summarizes how urbanization affects biodiversity and ecosystem services and pres- ents 10 key messages for strengthening conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in an urban context. It also showcases best practices and lessons learned…

The Urban Transition In Ghana: Urbanization, National Development and Poverty Reduction

The first point to note is that the intensive urbanization of the industrial nations which occurred in the past is currently under way in today’s developing countries. Although the rate of urbanization in the developing world is proceeding at a fairly comparable rate as that of the industrial nations in the heyday of their rapid urbanization, the rate of population growth of cities in developing countries as distinct from urbanization is rather unprecedented (Songsore,2003a ;Davis, 1967;Satterthwaite,1996; Preston, 1979). In 2008, for the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population,3.3 billion people, are living in…