Student Name
Gura Julie Anne
Project Supervisor
Dr. Edwin Oyaro Ondieki
Degree Programme
Registration Number
Academic Year
Project year
6th year
Project Sponsor

Universities are considered urban amenities and attractions and have huge economic and social impact on their surrounding. Campus planning and design also has a great impact on the university’s immediate context and contributes to the image the non-academia community has of the university. Urban universities globally are under pressure to open up their universities so that they are seamless with the urban fabric rather than isolated blocks that have no relation with their surroundings.

Major universities in Kenya were established over thirty years ago and their campus locations depended on the land that was available for development at that time. Most of these locations were next to developing urban areas so that the community would benefit from educational facilities and research being carried out by the university. The main concern during university planning was the integrity of the campus rather than relation with the surrounding. Recent times have seen universities and cities try and cooperate to address this issue but the plans put in place are not comprehensive enough.

This study focuses on the disposition of the university in the urban fabric exploring their potential to improve the quality of their immediate context and how they can become integrated university districts that serve as examples for future developments. It is important to pay attention to the physical form of the urban universities because it determines how academia interact with non-academia for mutual benefits. New urbanist principles and other theories reviewed establish that spatial boundaries need to be permeable to allow knowledge and ideas to pass from one party to the other.

Physical assessment was carried out on the University of Nairobi and Technical University of Kenya. The analysis of the two case studies chosen was based on the quality of paths leading to the university, treatment of the university edges and architectural properties of campus buildings in an attempt to quantify measures of integration with the urban fabric of Nairobi. Both universities were seen to achieve some level of integration with the urban fabric mostly through the porosity of their edges and their distinct architectural features that heighten the character of the universities.

However, the disposition of these universities can be improved through improving the pedestrian experience along the edges, integrating more non-university functions that can be used by the public and working together with the local government to improve the quality of paths leading to the university. It is noted that safety and security is becoming an issue especially in universities. This study advocates for design strategies that enhance both exclusion and inclusion rather than completely excluding the public.