It’s been slightly over a year since I started writing for The Grid, and the journey has come to an end. Starting in November 2013, while a postgraduate student, I began the journey of writing 27 blogs on diverse urbanism topics.
The experience has helped me understand the challenges facing the City of Nairobi, from analytic and comparative perspectives. I have reviewed the planning issues facing the City in a deep and concise manner, which has broadened my knowledge and appreciation of the City. Additionally, I have been able to meet and get to know people from different parts of the world with similar interests in urban planning and design.
Meeting the strict timelines was a challenge, especially with work and studies at the same time - as was getting good images for the blogs (taking photographs is prohibited in some places in Nairobi). However, thanks to a great team of editors; writing, research and image standards were maintained throughout.
Most of my posts focused on urban transportation, an area that is experiencing many challenges in African cities. Among the most popular posts were Double Decker Highway: Good or Bad for Nairobi? and Nairobi’s Failure to Protect Pedestrians. The two portrayed the City of Nairobi’s continual emphasis of planning around the motor car. Non-motorized transport and other ways of reducing road congestion, other than further road construction, continue to be ignored.
Another interesting post was Nairobi’s Informal Urban Markets Threatened, which was based on a study done with my classmates at the University of Nairobi involving visiting several informal markets in the city. The post Nairobi, Kenya’s 1973 Master Plan Receives an Update was also published by the Architectural Association of Kenya in their June - September 2014 Newsletter.
The City of Nairobi is growing. It faces several economic, political, and social challenges; like transportation and housing. The City will soon have in place a new Integrated Urban Development Plan. It is my wish that writing for The Grid has helped many understand the planning challenges we face in Nairobi and ways in which we can go about solving them.
For those who have helped with blogging ideas, feedback and images – a big thank you as well.
As we say in Kiswahili ‘Kwaheri, tutaonana siku ingine’ (bye-bye, we will meet another day). I wish all the best to the future bloggers on The Grid.
Credits: Images by Constant Cap and Jacky Husselman. Data linked to sources.