Kibera Public Space
Project 06 (KPSP 06)
Kibera is the largest slum in Nairobi, if not Africa, and is infamous for its scale, location, history, and degraded conditions. Kibera is just four kilometers from downtown Nairobi and occupies a space two-thirds the size of New York City's Central Park. Kibera has no formal trash collection system and limited sanitation facilities. Many residents live on less than USD$1 a day and unemployment and crime rates are high. Land tenure is precarious and housing density leaves little traditional open space for children to play or communities to gather. KDI recognizes that poverty in Kibera involves a complex set of interconnected problems — financial, environmental, physical, political, and social — but also acknowledges Kibera's assets: community activism, informal economies and entrepreneurship.
Kibera Public Space Project 06 marked a return to Site 01, completed 6 years earlier. The community had long identified two pressing needs. The first was the continued erosion of the neighboring waterway leading to ever increasing flooding. The second was the lack of sanitation facilities in the area. Due to the lack of sewerage in the vicinity, any formal connection to Nairobi public infrastructure was impossible. Further, the high water level and seasonal flooding made any septic – or even pit latrine – an impossible option.
In response to the erosion of the waterway, the foot bridge connecting Soweto and Silanga Villages was replaced with a steel bridge of a longer span. In order to mitigate the effects of further flooding, hundreds of bamboo plants were planted along the edge of the waterway.
In the design of the sanitation block, numerous meetings were held with NNDC to explore alternative decentralized options. The two most viable options were dry composting systems or large scale wetland processing. In order to learn more about these options, both KDI and the team visited numerous facilities in and around Nairobi that employed these alternative systems. After reviewing all of the benefits and challenges of each possible system, the community voted to construct a dry compost toilet; the most simple system reviewed.
The sanitation block features a natural stone foundation with relatively wide footings to resist uneven settling upon the unstable ground. The primary structural unit consists of interlocking soil stabilized bricks (ISSBs), each of which was fabricated by the surrounding community residents. The super structure features steel columns that support a roof that captures the rain water for irrigation of nearby crops within the nearby greenhouse.
The sanitation facility is currently providing needed services to the surrounding residents, and experiences occasional spikes in business do to widespread limited availability of water within the informal settlement. The back of house space for the sanitation block features six compost bins that process the organic compost for six months each. The community is currently identifying markets for the compost product through large scale flower growers and local informal gardeners.
KPSP06 was opened in February 2014.