Photo: CSUD & Daily Nation


Children’s needs ignored in Nairobi’s physical planning - A Jackie Klopp's article published in the Kenyan newspaper Daily Nation

City planners and citizens take care of the young by creating comfortable, engaging public spaces, playgrounds and parks.

Nairobi began as a colonial city where African men were seen as migrant labour. Thus African women and children were not supposed to be in Nairobi. The poor-quality dormitory housing and the lack of facilities like schools for African children reflected this. White and Asian children figured in the planning, but not the African child.

School vehicle travel is unregulated. The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure has “guidelines”, but legally enforceable rules to ensure safety are not properly in place. So middle-class parents often drive their children to school, contributing to traffic congestion.

Riding a bike, which children love, is also out of the question: cycle paths are almost always missing, or if present, an afterthought and poorly constructed.

Link to the article

Jackie Klopp is an Associate Research Scholar at the Center for Sustainable Development, a VREF center of excellence in future urban transport at Columbia University. A political scientist by training, her work focusses on the political processes around urban land-use, transportation and planning and policy with a focus on Africa. The bulk of her recent work supported by VREF has involved working with a network of universities, residents associations and government in Nairobi on shifting policy and action towards more equitable and sustainable transportation and land-use. She is a founding member of the Digital Matatu consortium which has produced the first open transit data and public transit map for Nairobi's quasi-formal "matatu" transit system and is also a founding member of CairofromBelow. She also runs the blog

Jackie Klopp has taught at Lubinu Boys School and runs the Nairobi Planning Innovations blog. She is also an associate research scholar at the Centre for Sustainable Urban Development at Columbia University and a research associate at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Nairobi.aught at Lubinu Boys School and runs the Nairob Planning Innovations blog. She is also an associate research scholar a the Centre for Sustainable Urban Development at Columbia University an a research associate at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Nairobi.

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