Nairobi’s upmarket neighbourhoods will soon lose their grand status after the County Assembly passed a motion allowing construction of commercial centres and highrise apartments in the suburbs.
The motion, which was passed last week, seeks to introduce a new zoning of estates in the city as it grapples with high demand for housing and business centres.
If implemented, it will see drastic changes in developing of Zones 4 — including Spring Valley, Riverside Drive, Kileleshwa, Kilimani, Thompson and Woodley.
Also affected will be Zone 5 — which includes Upper Spring Valley, Kyuna, Loresho and Lavington/Bernard Estate. Another is Zone 15, which includes Dagoretti.
The motion, sponsored by Waithaka MCA Antony Karanja, said these zones have developed sewerage systems can accommodate more people.
He said the increasing city population can no longer allow controlled development in some estates as there is a greater demand for housing and, consequently, physical planning services.
“We are deeply concerned that physical planning throughout the city has largely not kept pace with the ever-changing city landscape and demand for housing, especially as regards the city’s zoning policy, with areas that initially had no proper public infrastructure such as a sewage system not allowed to have multi-dwelling developments,” said Mr Karanja.
He said the high population growth rate was exerting pressure on the low-density residential neighbourhoods, hence necessitating the zoning policy to be reviewed to allow the development of affordable multi-dwelling housing there.
Mr Karanja added that Nairobi has not had a comprehensive plan since the Metropolitan Growth Strategy of 1973, which expired in 2000.
“We are aware that its expiry points to the urgency for a review of the zoning policy formulated in the 1970s, when Nairobi had a small population, which has since risen tenfold,” said Mr Karanja.