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Speculative Urbanism and the Urban Planning Process in Nairobi, Kenya - A Case Study of Southern Bypass

Authors: Topista Barasa*, Miami University Of Ohio
Topics: Africa, Urban and Regional Planning, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: Speculative urbanism, transportation planning, foreign investment, land use change.
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/9/2020
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:15 PM
Room: Virtual Track 1
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The global periphery is experiencing infrastructural developments that result in major changes in land use. The literature suggests that these projects depend on foreign investments as the main source of capital. This dependence on foreign investments has created speculation both in land and governance in these cities. This has led to a new type of urbanism, termed as speculative urbanism. The southern bypass in Nairobi, Kenya is an infrastructural (transportation) development that plays a role in urban growth and land use change in and around the city of Nairobi. The purpose of this research is to find out the changes that have occurred due to its construction, the processes contributing to these changes and what it means to the planning process vis-a-vis the local circumstances in Kenya. Satellite imagery acquired from Landsat 7 TM and Landsat 8 OLI are analyzed to depict the changes in land use and urban growth. Interviews with planners, property developers, property managers and property owners were conducted along the southern bypass, to find out the specific processes that are contributing to these changes. Preliminary results of this study shows that there exists remarkable urban growth leading to changes in land use. Contrary to dictates of speculative urbanism, most property investments get funding from local financial institutions. The planning process is characterized by insufficient coordination between major stakeholders such as physical planners, land surveyors and the transportation planning departments.


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