The Impact of Policies on the Development and Management of Recreational Spaces in Nairobi, Kenya
Ikawa, Joseph Victor Otieno
MetadataShow full item record
Recreational spaces within cities provide numerous benefits to the resident inhabitants;these include reduction of pollution, reduction of surface run-off, improvement of social interaction and biodiversity conservation amongst other services. The large population increase in Nairobi is stressing the existing gazetted and non-gazetted recreational facilities that were developed during the pre -independence period and that have been scantily improved. These recreational spaces were in themselves created to favournon - African residents. Formal and non-formal policies have a strong influence on the availability and management of these spaces. As Nairobi actualises her futuristic plans , there is need for a more harmonised look at the needs and aspirations of the Nairobi population who have been largely ignored in the design of recreational space. Such spaces are immensely useful in many facets of mental, ecological and physical health and also in biodiversity conservation education and in the provision of ecological services. Recreation leads to a healthier people thereby reducing the health budget. Currently, the quality and quantity of provision of recreational spaces is not well documented within Nairobi County. The study entailed a mix of approaches that are used within political ecology and urban environmental planning and management. These included face to face interviews using randomised approaches within selected spaces and the use of Geographical Information Systems(GIS), to map change in space and equity of access to recreational spaces. The different spaces were categorised based on historical mandate and then randomly sampled. Thestudy was also triangulated to encompass managers, users, neighbours and observation of the recreational spaces. The objectives of the study were to determine the growth and development of recreational spaces within Nairobi County; to assess the management issues within different geopolitical management contexts; to assess the benefits ofrecreational spaces to different users within Nairobi County; and lastly, to assess the walkability in Nairobi County neighbourhoods. The study found that a resident of Nairobi Countyhas 22 m 2 of recreational space on average from a high of 159 m 2atindependence. This translates to 2.162 acres per thousand residents compared with the best practice in the United States and in Europe of 6- 10 acres per thousand.Only 5% of Nairobi Countyis currently available for recreational spaces.The study found that due to large geopolitical neglect, the management and development of recreational spaces has been wanting and in the process, various private sector arrangements are leading the way in design and management. The study found that education affects the type of spacevisited, indicating social and political differences in access. Access to spacesis largely skewed to the higher social classes who have access to “members only” parks and golf courses. The study also found out that on average, the Nairobi County resident takes between 22 minutes and 90 minutes to access recreational spaces. Recreational spacesin general are preferred for relaxation(35%)and for socialising (12%) The study also confirms that the best managed spaces within Nairobi Countyare managed by the private sector an example being the Jaffery Park which had the highest scores on several measures. .