THE INTERACTION BETWEEN ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN AND CRIME INCIDENCE; A CASE OF KIAMBU, NAIROBI.

ABSTRACT
Crime in urban neighbourhoods has continually stabbed us. More often than not, the relevant
authorities resort to fighting crime through social, economic, political (and to some extent religious)
means. The relevance of architecture in this matter is often overlooked, yet it has such power, to solve
this menace before it actually occurs.
There have been many programs in Nairobi that aim to upgrade informal settlements. Often times,
the residents rent out their new houses and return to their former settlements. The author's opinion,
in line with the findings of this research, indicate that the reason for this is because the residents'
needs are not at the heart of these projects (especially social needs). Jacobs (1961) argues that the
best informal settlement upgrading schemes are those that involve renewal, other than redevelopment.
She argues that the best solutions are those that make the residents want to remain in
these settlements and improve them to acceptable standards. For this to be done, a bottom-up
approach needs to be taken-the residents become the major solution givers.
In addition to that, defensible space design strategies need to be employed. This involves creating
environments that present a higher risk for crimminals.The residents also need to own the spaces
around them. Only then, will they feel a responsibility to watch out keenly for what happens in their
surroundings.
The author's findings indicate that most of the spaces beyond residents' houses in Kiambiu are public,
thus they do not care to follow what happens there. Moreover, the streets are irregular thus creating
incentive for crimminals and killing the morale of the police and residents that may want to go after
crimminals. The same streets are used for garbage disposal and this makes it hard for any one to want
to own them.
It is the author's hope that the recommendations given will be realised, and that a bright day will soon
dawn for the people of Kiambiu; and on that day, they will all celebrate a place they call home, with
no constant fear of insecurity.

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