Kibera Public Space
Project 07 (KPSP 07)
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.
The seventh site of the Kibera Public Space was proposed by Lindi Village residents in June of 2014. Since then KDI has been working alongside the community members to realize this ongoing project.
Initial proposals coming from the KUFON community group included various income generating ventures, sanitation services, and training programs for area youth. After numerous meetings in July and August with the KDI team, these initiatives were focused towards the construction of a sanitation facility, a small business kiosk, a public laundry washing facility, a space for public performances, and play areas for the neighborhood children.
Upon breaking ground at the end of September 2014, the work focused on the reclamation of land from the Ngong river through the construction of the numerous levels of flood control. A stone filled gabion wall and a sloped gabion mat were chosen to both protect the site from the season flooding of the river, and to accommodate the over flooding that is to be expected every 10 years.
Throughout the project implementation, the construction efforts have experienced numerous setbacks. These have included unexpected rains and flooding, as well as a government sewer line construction project that has required consistent coordination and design revisions. Within this evolving master plan, a scheme has emerged through numerous meetings that that merges flood control and architecture to create public gathering spaces and seating areas for informal businesses.
The project is currently underway and is planned for completion in July 2015. As of April 2015, the foundations of the main structures have been poured. KDI and KUFON are currently working in partnership towards setting up the management structures and financial systems needed for the community to both operate and benefit from the planned public facilities.