THE IMPACT OF CIRCULATION ARTERIES ON NAIROBI’S URBAN FORM

Reforming the urban planning system is a critical challenge in urban sector
reforms in the face of burgeoning problems of urban growth and population
concentration in cities, especially in third-world countries. The efficiency of
urban settlements largely depends upon how well they are planned, how
economically they are developed and how efficiently they are managed, key in
this case being circulation arteries linking different locations within the ever
expanding limits. However, the urban planning process in the past has suffered
from many inadequacies. The process of planning has been too long and its
implementation weak, and has largely been confined to the detailing of land
use, paying inadequate attention to the provision of infrastructure, general
environmental responses and plan financing issues. With mounting infrastructural and land pressures in Nairobi, some streets have
been pedestrianised to accommodate more people, some have been converted
from two way to one way for similar reasons, and still in some cases buildings
have been brought down to allow for road expansion. Nevertheless, in both
planned and unplanned settlements continuous transformations are happening
as urban dwellers attempt to take advantage of every existing open space, be it
a road, railway or riparian reserve leading to continued redefinition of the
urban environments. Moreover, the city of Nairobi still suffers from historical
challenges, dating back to her maiden years. It is factual for example that
despite Nairobi being in the tropics, earlier circulation channels formed the
permanent benchmarks upon which current orientation of built-forms in the
CBD in ‘relation’ to the sun were embedded.

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