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The development of high rise residences continue to disregard the needs of children focusing more on monetary gain. The spaces created for children by designers are not internalized in terms of how the children interact with the environment. The impact of spaces in living environments have a huge impact on a child’s life and their upbringing. Spaces in living environments and how children interact with them and the people in the community mould the child as they grow. This prompted the genesis of this study to investigate the quality of spaces in the living environment for children in middle-income neighbourhoods of Nairobi such as South C, Nairobi West and Embakasi East.

This study undertook a case study methodology in the middle-income neighbourhoods of Nairobi where it analyses how estates have been designed to cater for children and their needs within the living environment. The study investigates what kinds of social and physical elements do children value in their neighbourhoods? What do they see as barriers and enablers to their independent exploration?
The research established that most of the spaces provided for children especially within the public realm in these neighbourhoods have not been designed for their needs and use. Spaces provided for children are also limited and inadequately sized. These spaces do not promote children’s
independence, access to nature, social connectedness, playable spaces, active mobility or a sense of ownership and belonging. Needs of children have been neglected by designers of the built environment.
The study concludes that the provision of spaces catered for children in vertical communities can be improved through the following interventions.

First the strategic provision of adequate social spaces for children and designing of quality spaces catering to their everyday needs. Secondly, through administrative initiatives by ensuring planning policy are revisited and design guidance provided to developers, planners and architects in order to ensure child-friendly strategies are used in the planning and design of compact neighbourhoods.

“ Children have no voice, so I choose to speak for them because I recognise they are our bridge to the future and unless we nurture them,our future will be precarious.”

Chief Justice Koome