P for Public Space, Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya

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Kibera is a part of the city of Nairobi in Kenya and it is the largest slum in Africa, with estimated population of around one million people. Kibera faces diverse infrastructural and social problems. There is lack of water  supply, no sewage system, high unemployment rate resulting in criminal activities. Social segregation among tribes causes conflicts on different levels. The only activity that makes youngsters play in a team is soccer.

In 2007 Kilimanjaro Initiative launched a project of upgrading Silanga Sport Field. In cooperation with Silanga community they recognised the importance of developing a safe public space with the goal of activating youth and enhancing community engagement in delivering the project. Field was planned for sporting and cultural activities. Before the project begun the area was recognised as place with high criminal activity, like muggings, rape, murder, due to lack of education and high unemployment rate.

The project was symbolically launched with football game between local team and team of urban stakeholders, involved in project.

Project had three developing phases:

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Before second phase KI conducted a survey where they interviewed 350 residents, average 22.3 years old:

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The innovative approach in participatory planning was implemented in second phase in 2009, when Kilimanjaro Initiative members came to an idea of engaging local gang group as part of work force. KI Project Supervisor and Kibera resident, said “They were somewhat shocked by the fact that someone cared about their well being. During the upgrade, not a tool went missing.” Local gang group formed a Youth group and continued to contribute to the area by planning a vegetable growing plot next to the field.

Sport Field Committe 

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9 Members representing: Local Community; Sport; Teams; Youth groups.

Sport Field Activities

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyQQwzgucZI

Today

The Nairobi City Council has started a project to create 60 high end public spaces by 2017.  into high end recreational parks.

Project for Public Spaces in cooperation with local Kibera residents and city council staff discussed how to make Silanga public space more attractive and safe. It’s facilities around Sport Sport Field, which include a primary school, a public toilet, a community garden, a playground, a river, a pottery studio, a meeting hall and resource centre have a potential to maximize its use and make stronger neighbourhood with cumulative positive effects.

The idea of Silanga residents is to rename the area into “Silanga Community Centre”.

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Stakeholders for Silanga pilot project

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Further Information and Sources:

Kilimanjaro Initiative

Placemaking .pdf

PPS project

Voice of Kibera

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