plannig process.pngplannig process.pngUrban an rural planning also known as physical/spatial planning is a knowledge seeking process that link s identified problems with desired actions in both temporal and spatial dimensions. The planning process is anchored on information to guide the understanding of the development problems in the urban and rural areas, their causes and best measures to resolve the challenges. Various planning processes have been suggested starting with the earliest one by Patrick Geddes of Survey- Analyze- Plan to the modern that can be simplified into a two phase process (Fig 1 below).

The cross cutting aspect in all the planning processes is their cognizant nature. The planning process in seeking to link the development problems to desired states starts with insight to understand the problems and their root causes. This is what Geddes starts with in the survey stage and the coverage of the first phase of the simplified two phase planning process. The process of understanding and identification of the planning problems is conscious of the felt needs and development aspirations of the community and based on information gathered; both primary and secondary, on the existing development situation.

After identification of the problems, planners move to setting of desired goals and objectives. This step is guided and informed by data gathered about the identified problems and the desired future state of the community. The setting of the goals and objectives is conscious of the development challenges and potentials of a planning area and the aspirations of the people on how to best match the potential. The plan formulation is informed by the analysis of the physical, environmental, social economic and other aspects of the planning area. The choice of the preferred model to achieve the set goals and the subsequent implementation is aware of the financial capacity of the people and the implementing institutions.

The planning process is thus evidently conscious. It is conscious of the problems that the planning area experiences, the opportunities and threats to development in the area and the aspirations that the people in the planning area wish for their future. The process is also cognizant of the needs of the community being planned for and the best ways available to achieve their needs.

KenyaEnergy is an important component essential for biological processes of living organisms and the processes of production. Energy occurs in different forms but can be converted from one form to another. The primary source of all energy is the sun but energy we use is sourced from other secondary sources which can all be grouped into either renewable or non-renewable. Renewable sources comprise of those that can easily be replenished after use such as wind and solar while non-renewable are those that once used cannot be replaced or take too long to be replenished such as nuclear and oil. In the development sphere, access to and cost of energy are critical factors that not only shape the world politics but also the development path of nations. Energy is used to run industries which are the engines of development, for transportation and in the homesteads. Countries with access to energy sources such as oil are better placed to achieve growth more than those that rely on the importation of energy and use of expensive energy.

In Kenya, the housing and population census in 2009 identified that 68% of the population uses wood fuel and other biomass, 22% petroleum, 9% electricity and other energy sources accounting for less than 1%. Commercial energy in Kenya is dominated by petroleum and electricity as the prime movers of the economy. Though huge deposits of oil have recently been discovered in the country, the country is many years away from using oil from these wells and continues to rely on imported petroleum products that are used in the transport, commercial, industrial and households. The electricity power in Kenya is derived chiefly from hydroelectricity power generating plants that contribute more than half of the power, while thermal, geothermal, wind and importation fill up the rest. The Kenya vision 2030 projects that by 2030 the nation will need more than 19,000 MW of electricity to run the industries and for domestic consumption. To the achievement of this, it proposes the investment in production of more power from renewable sources and the importation from neighboring nations.

Increase in power generation and distribution in the country is a necessary preliquisite to forging the path to development as it will make the nation more attractive thus attract investors, stimulate growth of the manufacturing sector, ensure energy security and lowering the costs of production. to achieve this pillar of development, the government has initiated numerous programmes aimed at increasing the production of power from existing power plants, the opening of new power plants utilizing geothermal, solar and hydro sources. The government has also given incentives to aid the households get connected to the electricity grid, an initiative that has been widely embraced and the penetration of electricity increased. Contextualizing the location of Kenya in an area that widely receives sunshine almost all year, huge steam reserves in the rift valley, strong winds and numerous rivers that run throughout the country, the nation ought to be the perfect example how nations can utilize renewable natural sources of energy in the path to development.

The government through the Kenya vision 2030 delivery secretariat has created the Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board (Kneb) with the mandate of creating capacity and laying foundations for the establishment of nuclear electricity producing plants. The secretariat is also in the process of drafting a national nuclear energy law to give the initiative a legal backing. To create the required specialized labour, more than 20 scientists have been sponsored to learn advanced technologies in the nuclear field both locally at the Institute of Nuclear science in the University of Nairobi and abroad.  The board has proposed the establishment of four nuclear reactors in the country to help in the generation of the needed large quantities of electricity.

The idea of Kenya engaging in the nuclear arena despite the availability of numerous underutilized sources of green energy at her disposal presents a twisted scenario. Experts in the energy sector have advised that the power demand for Kenya is too small to warrant the use of nuclear sources, they also put it that Kenya is in a position to produce more power from its renewable sources than it even needs. While as nuclear power can produce high amounts of electricity power and at low costs, the risks it presents are also high. The memories of the recent tragedies in Japan’s nuclear reactors would make one want to look away from such endeavors. Though Japan has a large pool of specialized labour and extra tight security for its reactors, the reactors continue to emit radiations affecting large areas. With the security situation in Kenya volatile as it is and the poor emergency preparedness as evidenced by the recent fire in Sinai and Jomo Kenyatta international airport and terror attack at the westgate, one can only predict that a nuclear disaster in a major city would turn it into nothing but a mass graveyard.

Most of the nations dependent on nuclear power are in the process of shutting them down as they pose significant insecurity not only to the population but also the environment. The nuclear wastes continue to radiate harmful radioactive rays hundreds of years after use. No safe methods have been so far identified to dispose the wastes which have rendered areas that they spill unlivable. Dealing with nuclear materials allows no room for mishaps as the slightest of leakages could cause widespread disaster.

The decision then by the government to establish nuclear power plants is thus a reflection of either grand misinformation or masked mischief. The country’s investment in the training of experts in the nuclear field should be diverted into investment in training geothermal experts to utilize the country’s large untapped geothermal energy. The secretariat should be guided by the spirit of the policy they seek to operationalize that stipulates that the nation invest in and develops diverse renewable sources of energy at her disposal. The nation should stop lamenting of the hot sun causing draught each year but utilize it for the production of green energy. Even in seeking to be like the ‘developed’ nations by having sophisticated infrastructure, Kenya must not chew more than she can digest. Kenya must learn from the nations that have had such power plants and are shifting from it and utilize her God given renewable power sources to power her prosperity for the nuclear path is surely the wrong energy path for her.


Posted: February 2, 2016 in Uncategorized

Test 1


Rural-urban migration refers to the movement of people from rural areas to the urban realm. It is the greatest contributor to the urbanization process mostly in the fast growing cities such as in Africa. People migrate to the urban areas from the rural chiefly in response to two forces: the push and pull forces.  The push force represent those aspects and inadequacies such as poverty and unemployment in the rural areas that force the people to move out while the pull forces represent those factors such as employment opportunities in the urban areas that attract the people from the rural areas. This migration affects both the urban and rural areas in ways such as discussed below.

The migration of people to the urban areas exposes them to improved technology and better employment opportunities; these may find themselves being transferred to the rural areas thus helping develop the rural areas. It may also result to development of the rural areas when the people working in the urban areas invest in these rural areas. However, the migration of people from the rural areas results to underutilization of resources and unproductivity in the rural areas. This happens as the bulk of the people who migrate from the rural areas have been identified as being the able bodied youths who would otherwise be best fit to cultivate and engage in primary production in these rural areas. This migration thus results to the underutilization and low primary productivity in the rural areas as the elderly and children left there are not able to utilize these resources. This in Kenya has led to low productivity in the agriculture sector which affects negatively the country’s economy and food security. The migration also breaks the social bonds experienced in the rural areas.

In the urban areas, migration of the people from rural areas causes numerous effects both positive and negative. The immigrants most of whom get to the urban areas with little or no skills provide cheap labour in the offices and industries. The increased population in the urban areas also increases the demand for products and services in the urban areas leading to increased production. The migration however leads to increased population in the urban areas thereby increasing demand for basic goods, services and infrastructure in most cases beyond the provided scale. The increased population creates demand for housing for the low income city dwellers which has resulted in creation and thriving of slums and informal settlements such as Mathare, Mukuru, Lungalunga, Kibera all in Nairobi and Majengo in Nyeri.

Rural-urban migration has also been noted as contributing heavily to urban poverty as it transfers the poor in the rural areas to the urban realm where they are worse off. While as the rural people view the urban areas as full off employment opportunities, the massive migration of people to these urban areas decreases the employment opportunities resulting to massive unemployment, poverty and destitute. While the urban areas are viewed as safe havens and green pastures, the people on migrating are frustrated to live in conditions worse than in the rural areas, pay more for services and work for long periods searching for work. This unemployment spirals to insecurity as the youths engage in crime arguably for survival.

As the rates of urbanization sour more so in Africa and people increasingly move from the rural to  urban areas, the illustrated effects of this migration point that the migration has need to be regulated. While as most of the developed nations have their development anchored on urbanization and growth of the urban realms where they engage in service and value addition activities, the developing nations should not rush to unstructured urbanization but learn that primary production is the first and important aspect of growth which takes place in the rural areas. For sustainable growth of the developing nations such as Kenya, there is need to plan both the urban and rural areas. Planning for service centres and employment zones in the rural areas will help reduce the rural-urban migration thus retaining the youthful people in the rural areas where they can work and also prepare those who will move to the urban areas of their expected environment. Planning of urban areas is also important to ensure that as the engines of development they are well equipped to provide the basic, social and economic well being of the people.



Street addressing has numerous applications in the management of a city and easing the flow of activities therein. Figure it out this way, if we were to have all the streets and structures in Kibera addressed and numbered such that one knows where exactly in the settlement each specific numbered property is, how would that impact on the settlement and the city managers? I discuss here some of the potential applications of street addressing.

Street Addressing and Civic Identity

An individual without an address has no civic identity. A citizen is not an anonymous entity lost in the urban jungle and known only by his relatives and co‐workers; he has an established identity. He can reach and be reached by associations and government agencies, and he can interface with fellow citizens outside the traditional networks, all by dint of residence in the same city. Street addressing systems in informal neighbourhoods are often the first and most important urban infrastructure system. They help residents and visitors locate dwellings, public facilities and private businesses. Perhaps most importantly, they provide residents with a sense of citizenship, that is, of belonging to the city.


The distinctive feature of street addressing is that it creates a common ground on which the concepts of urban space and civic community/identity can come together. It is a prerequisite for undertaking a new approach that will create a lasting connection between urbs(city) and civitas(citizenship). Street addressing is just one of the many requirements that will help a city achieve social integration, but it merits special attention because of its crucial role.


Street Addressing and Urban Information


The database and maps created in street addressing make it possible to evolve into a simplified geographic information system that can be coordinated with other urban management tools. The process of maintaining this reference tool provides an opportunity for progressive updates as new information becomes available.


Street Addressing and Support to City Services


Street addressing moves beyond a simple identification task to play a key role in the development of city management tools. It can be instrumental in consolidating city expertise according to priority subject areas, such as street system management, maintenance of facilities and infrastructure, household waste collection, urban property identification and investment planning.


Street Addressing and Tax Systems

One of the primary benefits of using the address directory is the ability to obtain a list of economic activities that is usually more complete than the one used by the tax department and reveals the size of the population not listed on the tax rolls. The key challenge is to reconcile address data with tax department data. Using street identification make it easier to locate potential taxpayers.

This would be much applicable in Kenya where the government plans to expand tax collection by including also the landlords. With a well-structured street address system, the government can be able to know who stays where and where the tax payers are.

Street Addressing and Slum Upgrading


Street addressing initiatives in “slums” are an option, although they are difficult to implement in practice for the following reasons:

• In neighbourhoods that are known to be illegal, the authorities fear that street addressing is a pretext for their de facto regularization.

• The street layout is often indistinct or even nonexistent.

• Street addressing in formal neighbourhoods is always viewed as a priority.


Under these circumstances, informal settlements are often overlooked. This hesitation to deal with slums, as understandable as it may be, must be overcome because it contributes to the prolonged exclusion of slum populations from society. Of course it is true that street addressing alone will not significantly change the living conditions of those living in slums, but it may help these settlements to better integrate into the city by strengthening their place in the larger community. Street addressing can thus lead to a kind of collective regularization of the slum which, even if limited in scope, often bears fruit much sooner than difficult and slow‐moving land tenure regularization projects.


Street Addressing and Economic Development


The information is found in maps and databases and makes it easier to use and understand, especially for public and private economic operators who have a particular interest in answering the following questions. What kinds of activities go on in the city? Where do they take place? How are households distributed? In other words, how is the city organized in spatial, economic and social terms? The street address directory provides a very important piece of information: a list of existing formal and informal economic activities. The list is a good barometer of the city’s economic potential, as well as the nature and location of activities taking place. In addition, by preserving the history of a location’s changing uses, address management software provides a reliable indicator of the economic dynamics at work and can serve to document trends.


The above examples show the numerous applications that street addressing systems could be used in. It emerges that a well-executed street addressing system could be a huge asset to the city authorities and business people there in. My hope is that as Nairobi County continues to expand its street address system these benefits will be reaped.

Street Addressing

Posted: June 21, 2014 in Uncategorized


Street addressing refers to a system of locating a plot/ property or building in a given area using the street number or name and entrance number. A street addressing operation involves designing the system, installing street signs, numbering entrances and recording these data, producing maps and conducting public education campaigns. Street addressing falls in the domain of the urban and regional planner and city managers.

How should streets be identified?

The manner in which a city or neighbourhood is planned or has developed often dictates the framework for street identification.

a. Naming streets

Naming streets is the most vivid way of identifying them, and the most commonly used historically because of its suitability for any street layout. Name selection, however, can pose many problems in the selection of the name and may take time. It is therefore not recommended as a first step in setting up of a street addressing system where the naming has not yet been done.

b. Numbering streets in cities with a grid layout

Numbering streets in cities with a grid layout is a more “neutral” system that is easier for people to understand because the streets are arranged in numerical or alphabetical order. When a grid layout is used in new neighbourhoods, this is the preferred solution in addressing such streets.

c. Numbering streets in cities with an irregular layout

Numbering streets in cities with an irregular layout is the system often used in anticipation of gradual street naming. One way to simplify the process of establishing street coordinates is to group the streets into neighbourhoods or zones, which can then be assigned a sequential number with a prefix. This is the recommended approach in most cases.

How should buildings be identified?

The practice of continuous numbering (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and so on) of buildings or plots along one side of the street or in a neighbourhood was adopted in Paris during the Revolution and resulted in great confusion. Regardless of the type of solution adopted for identifying streets, a system of alternate numbering—even numbers on one side of the street, odd numbers on the other—should be used to identify buildings or plots. The following modalities may be used:

a. Sequential numbering

Odd (1, 3, 5 and so on) and even (2, 4, 6 and so forth) numbers are assigned sequentially to buildings on opposite sides of the street. Structures that are built between existing buildings after numbers have been assigned will use the suffix bis or ter (5, 5 bis, 5 ter).

b. Metric numbering

Structures are assigned even or odd numbers corresponding to the distance between the building entrance and the beginning of the street. This avoids the problem of using bis or ter, as new numbers can be assigned to new structures based on their distance from the beginning of the street.

c. Decametric numbering

Even and odd numbers are assigned sequentially as in the above cases, but according to ten meter‐ long sections of street. This compromise between the first two solutions has more advantages, but is infrequently used.


Decametric Numbering


Sequential Numbering


Metric Numbering

Religion has for a long time been a significant aspect of almost all people’s lives. Different people with divergent views and beliefs belong to various religions including those inclined to: Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism and Muslim. Religion has been a major development factor and has led to growth and thriving of some areas. The followers of different religions congregate in their sacred places of worship including churches, mosques, temples and shrines. Such public places play a significant role in the social life of the society.
Nairobi’s hosts a roundabout that has been baptized “the religious roundabout” due to the presence of many religious facilities around the roundabout. Located at the intersection of Uhuru high way and University way, the roundabout is surrounded by three holy grounds a stone throw away and even more a few yards away. The spot is home to St. Paul’s University Chapel, St. Andrew’s church, the Lutheran church and the Jewish Synagogue.

With the close proximity of these facilities and the peak use of most of them on the same day- Sunday, there arises a shortage of vehicle packing spaces as the faithful throng in large numbers to worship. Like the long ladder to heaven, a long string of vehicles can be seen on Sundays parked along the roads and on the foot paths around these facilities. Proper planning is due in this area to provide adequate parking for the worshipers and ensure seamless flow of both vehicles and pedestrians.