On the 17th June 2015 the University of Nairobi team members who participated in the Placemaking project were issued with certificates of excellence and participation. This was after a successful completion of the project that focused on making better public spaces in the city of Nairobi.
The project was launched in the month of March 2015, where partners of the ‘Making Cities Together’ project (Placemakers, New town Institute and International Federation of Housing and Planning, IFHP) converged in close collaboration with Nairobi City County, UN-Habitat, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, private sector, DASUDA, UoN, TUK, KUWA among other local stakeholders. The objective of the collaboration being to gain an in-depth understanding of public life and public space in Nairobi; how Nairobians use and experience public spaces and what physical aspects define the places. The project aimed to give an understanding of how public spaces are used in three different contexts (The informal settlements (IS), Neighborhoods (NH) and the CBD) and in three different categories (streets, parks, markets, bus stops, squares) and the knowledge would be used by international and local urban professionals to develop placemaking strategies for the improvement of these specific places.
The locations selected for study included: Jevanjee gardens, Korogocho streets, Dandora courtyards, Kibera community centres, the sunken car park and Kilimani playgrounds. The project also involved 18 interdisciplinary students, 6 sociologists, 1 valuer, 6 urban designers/planners, and 6 architects. These students were organized into six groups to cover all the study areas.
In the week of May 4th to May 8th 2015, a Placemaking Design Lab was held at the UN-HABITAT headquarters at Gigiri, Nairobi. The Lab would be the last phase of the project. It provided a platform for international and local experts to come together and prepare strategies on the selected public spaces in Nairobi.
At the Lab, the research team and local experts from the specific sites were able to present their findings, analysis and experiences. Out of the 6 public spaces, 3 international and local expert teams were challenged to develop placemaking strategies for the following areas: Jevanjee gardens (city centre), Dandora (a residential neighborhood) and Korogocho (an informal settlement). For the rest of the week, the teams visited the sites, came up with interventions and made proposals towards achieving better and more inclusive public spaces. This event was topped off with an award winning ceremony for the best group at the Nairobi Bomblast Memorial Park. The Dondora group was awarded as the winning team with the best intervention for public spaces.
James Wanyoike, CURI