RIVERFRONT DEVELOPMENTS Connecting Nairobi City to its river

ABSTRACT

‘Like a stroll , one by one I see humans head to the waterfront , its lure captures the five senses of man .It’s more than just the beauty of the buildings that pattern the riverine, it is rhythm ,it is the image , it is the legibility that enables access , for the ones with the motor to the pedestrians who prefer the foot, it’s for all ! Let’s talk of colors , of greens, framing the blue waters ,of the clear pure water to touch , the humans have come from all over , their node is the CBD and now the riverfronts –a converging point , a sense of place makes them stay , sampling bitings of the metropolitan Nairobi as they enjoy a boat ride on the waters , they take 360 degrees turn and they can’t take all the beauty in ,thank that they will stay for hours because the waterfront is a mixed use ’’ Billups Omido

When one sees huge masses of water, a certain coolness and serenity comes to mind, be it a sea, an ocean, lake or even a river .In the recent past, the waterfront phenomena has taken a wave worldwide, from India to Philippines to Rhine in Germany and the Thames in England .Many people have moved to the waterfront just because of the lure of the water, not only is the waterfront a place to live but also a place to work and recently a place to play-recreation. The concept of mixed use at the waterfront dates back few years ago because of the demand of maximizing the potential at the waterfront.

Unfortunately depending on the context, some rivers get to a point of straining either because of disuse of an old port, some due to industrialization effects, rural urban migration, encroachment of informal settlements, pollution; all these reasons put strain on the urban rivers. In the case of Nairobi River, land laws, politics, unsustainable city planning approaches and urban sprawl have hampered the growth of developments along the river, this is because the river has been neglected and its potential has not been realized leave alone being maximized. This study seeks to identify and confirm the Nairobi River basin problems like:

Solid waste and raw sewage discharge into the river, Lack of environmental awareness within the urban poor, inadequate waste collection, disposal, and sanitation facilities contribute to the river pollution.

In this study, the author seeks to find ways in which waterfronts can be integrated with the urban districts, and how new waterfronts can be developed through set principles and from learning from other deemed successful riverfronts. The author also looks at the history of waterfronts, their degradation and how they have been rehabilitated or revitalized for recreation purposes and mixed use purposes in economic regeneration. The author goes further into studying the process of developing a new waterfront to looking at all the stakeholders involved in the process.

With regards to the degradation that has taken place over a long period of time in this decayed urban window, the government and other NGOS have tried to rehabilitate the river over time they have lacked a feasible way forward. The author thus seeks to investigate innovative ways to revitalize Nairobi River and to find ways of connecting Nairobi urban to its river.

With reference to selected case studies as a basis, the study should fill the gap of knowledge on how new riverfronts can be developed while undertaking revitalization with aim of connecting the urban district to the river.

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