Victoria Cronin & Peter Guthrie – Alternative Approaches to Slum Upgrading in Kibera, Nairobi

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Urban Design and Planning – Volume 164 Issue DP2 –

Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers – Urban Design and Planning 164 June 2011 Issue DP2 – Pages 129–13 – ICE Publishing: All rights reserved

This paper discusses the sustainability of two different approaches to upgrade water and sanitation infrastructure in Kenya’s largest informal settlement, Kibera. A background to the urbanisation of poverty is outlined along with approaches to urban slums. Two case studies of completed interventions of infrastructure upgrading have been investigated. In one case study, the upgrading method driven by a non-government organisation uses an integrated livelihoods and partnership technique at community level to create an individual project. In the other case study, the method is a collaboration between the government and a multi-lateral agency to deliver upgraded services as part of a country-wide programme. The ‘bottom-up’ (project) and ‘top-down’ (programme) approaches both seek sustainability and aim to achieve this in the same context using different techniques. This paper investigates the sustainability of each approach. The merits and challenges of the approaches are discussed with the projected future of Kibera. The paper highlights the valuable opportunity for the role of appropriate engineering infrastructure for sustainable urban development, as well as the alleviation of poverty in a developing context.

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