In an ever-changing world, cities change, evolve, and adapt in the form of transformations in the physical structures of the city as well as a shift in activities associated with different urban spaces thus resulting in decline in the long run, which in this case is referred to as urban decay. Nairobi city is a good example as urban decay is common in most of the older buildings and physical developments including the old industrial areas. This study therefore was conducted as an effort to uncover the physical, economic, social, environmental, and institutional indicators of urban decay in Nairobi’s Industrial Area, to determine the urban renewal needs of the area and hence propose planning interventions for renewal which are in line with the current and future trends like the fourth industrial revolution principles.
Firstly, the study utilized secondary sources of information to clearly outline the various aspects of the subject matter; urban and industrial renewal. Secondly, the various renewal strategies in the global and local levels were investigated. Thirdly, the study went deeper to investigate the changes in the industrial sector and the trends of the future maker space by looking at few futuristic case studies and investigating if these changes were being provided for or were causing any impact locally. Finally, a field study was conducted to obtain primary data, which was then analysed against the theoretical base to produce auxiliary information to the study.
Study findings revealed that not only does the old Industrial area suffer from physical and environmental distress but also economic, social, and institutional or political decay. Just to mention a few aspects identified; physical decay was revealed by the poor physical state of buildings and infrastructure, for example the old rail tracks into the area that had ceased functioning; environmental decay was also quite evident in the form of improper solid waste and effluent handling thus posing a major threat to the environment; the issue of aesthetics was also scrutinized and found to be lacking.
The study concluded by proposing planning interventions that could be put in place to renew the condition of the industrial area. The study identified redevelopment, rehabilitation, conservation, and preservation as examples of plausible urban renewal actions that could be taken but recommended an integrated approach towards the renewal as an integrated approach combines the best practices of all other actions. The study also recommended several other actions like development of a detailed urban renewal plan for the old Industrial Area for example.
CHAPTER 1: BACKGROUND
Industrial Revolution influenced mankind and industry in nearly every possible aspect including population increase. Industrial buildings popped up quickly in urban areas at the time. Most of these buildings were
built for purpose alone, with very minimal flexibility. Technology developed, demands increased, industrial buildings needed to be even larger and therefore most industries moved out of the city centres leaving in their wake old, dilapidated, and abandoned warehouses and factories in prime locations. The built environment decays with the stream of time, strains of use and neglect. As cities expand outward, conditions for dereliction and abandonment are set in place (Berry, 1993).
Urban centres are comprised of zones that host different functions including residentials for the various classes, commercial and even recreational functions. Despite the organization, there still exist areas that languish in chronic disinvestment and decay (Fox, 2001). These areas find themselves undergoing disrepair and becoming socially and economically unsustainable besides tarnishing the image of the city.
Renewed urban cores, shortage of space, shortcomings in flexibility and functionality, obsolete technology and change in the economic structure are some of the problems that often go along with physical decay in our modern cities and urban areas. To control and limit rapid urban extension, flexible, compact, and mixed-use cities should be encouraged to mitigate against long term dereliction and abandonment of land in or near cities (Berry, 1993). Attempts to mitigate these problems through the maintenance, rehabilitation, and rebuilding of the physical environment are known as urban renewal. This can also be referred to as attempts to reinvigorate such declining areas by improving the physical urban environment to counter inner city disinvestments (Kinuthia, 2007).
Nairobi city and most urban centres in Kenya have experienced rapid growth both in terms of population and physical expansion (sprawl) due to among other factors; rural-urban migration, land availability and prices in the adjacent suburbs, noise and air pollution and shift of economic activities. Despite the loss of activities from the city centres, land values remain high. (Hanley, 1993). Nairobi has such declining areas characterized by among many other urban challenges; decaying urban fabric, dilapidated and abandoned buildings and poor public infrastructure. Industrial