SAFE AND SUSTAINABLE NEIGHBOURHOODS: A CASE OF JAMHURI ESTATE - PHASE II, NAIROBI

Abstract

Safety has become a major issue around the world with crime and terror threats rising by the day and our own region not being immune to this. If anything, we may have more of a security problem than most places considering the situation on the ground and the fact that there have been advisories issued against having people visit our once safe country. This situation coupled with the fact that everyone is suddenly preoccupied with the idea of ‘going green’ and creating sustainable environments, it is possible to apply these ideas starting with our own neighbourhoods.

A safe and sustainable neighbourhood can simply be de ned in loose terms as a community where residents feel secure within their environment and that can easily support everyone’s needs without having to go too far thus conserving energy in the long run. Such neighbourhoods should be the way forward as a designer’s primary concern should be that of the end user’s needs and this kind of development should surely satisfy these needs. A sustainable neighbourhood is one that successfully provides for the users in the Environmental, Social, Economic and Cultural aspects of their lives.

Using Jamhuri Estate - Phase II as the main area of investigation and using other successful case studies in both the international and local context (Jumeirah Beach Residence - Dubai and Green Park Estate - Athi River), this dissertation looks at ways in which the appropriate aspects and principles of safety and sustainability can be applied to create one of these so-called ‘Safe and Sustainable’ neighbourhoods out of this already existing neigh- bourhood. These guiding principles are: Continuity of the Urban Fabric, Location of Activities, Time and Calendar of Activities, Visibility, Accessibility, Territoriality, Attractiveness, Quality of Materials to Prevent Decay, Adequate Space for Streets and an Ef cient Street Network, High Density, Mixed Land-Use, Social Mix and Limited Land-Use Specialisation. The rst eight constitute the factors that help bring safety to a neighbourhood whereas the nal ve help create a sustainable environment.

After analysing the situation in Jamhuri Estate - Phase II, some of the problems that were found include high crime rates, terrible roads and infrastruc- ture, lack of recreational spaces and poor accessibility especially for the disabled and elderly. Because of this, some of the recommendations that have been put forward are to create a local governing body for the people and by the people, upgrading the infrastructure, provision of recreational spaces, creating a platform for community engagement, formalisation of some of the informal structures that pop up in the neighbourhood, updating the planning regulations, educating the public on sustainability, creating maintenance programmes and creating a specialised transit stage for the public transport in the area. This, if applied, should help take the neighbourhood leaps ahead in creating a safe and sustainable environment for its residents.

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