Breathtaking plans for Nairobi of the future
Posted Wednesday, August 17 2011 at 18:00
Twenty-thirty has become a sort of catch phrase in Kenya, thanks to Vision 2030, a government development blueprint aimed at transforming the country into a middle-level economy in less than 20 years.
By 2030, Kenya hopes to be where eastern economic tigers like Singapore are today — economically, socially, and politically. Never mind that at independence, over 40 years ago, Singapore and Kenya were almost at par economically.
But that is not all. Come 2030, another marvel awaits Kenyans, thanks to the power and ingenuity of urban planning and design.
For the first time in history, the country — and indeed much of the continent — will have a world-class city or metropolis rivalling the world’s best, like New York, London, and Tokyo.
According to the Draft Spatial Plan for Nairobi Metropolitan Region, world-class living standards — good infrastructure, affordable housing for all, effective transportation, effective governance, secure neighbourhoods, and a booming economy — await residents under the jurisdiction of the City Council of Nairobi and 14 other local authorities that make up the 32,000 square kilometre Nairobi Metropolitan Region.
“The Nairobi Metropolitan Region Draft Spatial Plan is a metro-wide planning concept that not only interprets the Nairobi Metro 2030 strategy but also articulates the 15 local authorities’ uniqueness while remaining functionally interdependent,” says Mr Peter Kibinda, director of Metropolitan Planning and Environment in the Ministry of Nairobi Metropolitan Development.
The document, which was validated by stakeholders at a workshop in Nairobi early this month, has been forwarded to the Ministry of Nairobi Metropolitan Development for approval.
Under the new geopolitical system of the country, the Nairobi Metropolitan Region comprises four counties — Nairobi, Kiambu, Machakos, and Kajiado — with a total population of 6.7 million, according to the 2009 national population census.
Mr Kibinda says that the spatial plan shall determine how the Nairobi Metropolitan Region will develop over the next 22 years (although the target of realising a world-class African metropolis is 2030).
“It is expected to provide outstanding design and spatial solutions that take into account local conditions, location of different functions, facilities, and amenities of the area,” he says.
The spatial plan takes a critical look at the demography, economy, settlement pattern, transport system, physical infrastructure (water supply, sewerage and sanitation, solid waste management, and power), social infrastructure (educational, health and recreational facilities), security and safety, the housing situation, the environment, as well as urban design and regional landscape.
A major proposal by the spatial plan is the creation of six new towns in three of the counties, aimed at decongesting the existing ones.
The document describes these new towns as “the instruments for a balanced regional development with a desirable pattern of population distribution”.
“They are self-contained cities promoting economic development,” it says, noting that the six new towns, two in each county, would decongest the present Nairobi City.
The proposed new towns are Aerotropolis (near Thika Municipality, north of Garissa Road between the proposed regional orbital and the Great Eastern By-pass extension to Thika) and Knowledge-cum-Health City (north of Limuru Road near Ruaka) in Kiambu County, Cyber City (at the junction of the Greater Eastern By-pass and Kangundo Road) and Sports City (at the junction of Mombasa Road and the regional orbital) in Machakos County, Transport New Town (near the transport hub between Kajiado and Konza) and Amboseli New Town (adjacent to the Amboseli National Park) in Kajiado County.
According to the plan, the “vision statement” for the new towns will be “self-sustaining, eco-friendly, compact cities, making Nairobi Metropolitan Region a world-class metropolis.”
The new towns are planned to be in such a way that public transport leads urban structure with a hierarchy of open green systems including hillocks, water bodies, and urban forestry.
The document states that the new towns shall be infrastructure-led cities, where high quality urban services such as public transport, telecommunication and IT connectivity, water supply, sewerage and waste water recycling, power, and solid waste management shall be provided.