Community design workshop


Community design workshop



In 2018 and 2019, KDI partnered with SymbioCity and the county governments of Meru, Kakamega, and Kisumu in Kenya to engage community members on the redesign of two public markets and a community park. The resulting masterplans and upgrades are demonstrating new, community-engaged approaches to sustainable urban development that are sensitive to local contexts and needs.


Existing conditions at an informal market

Markets and parks can be the catalysts for community-driven sustainable urban development – creating places for gathering, economic activity, cultural exchange, and civic action.

However, across Kenya, sites like the Ahero Market in Kisumu are under-used and no longer fit for purpose. As governments seek to upgrade these amenities, there is a valuable opportunity to build-in the priorities of community members and vendors, and to demonstrate more environmentally conscious strategies.


Activity at a community design workshop

KDI used its three-pronged approach of participation, integration, and networked change to add value to the initial site analyses and concept design processes.

Working the county governments of Meru, Kakamega and Kisumu, we engaged the communities surrounding the sites to identify the challenges they faced and how the upgraded facilities could better suit their needs.


Detail of the Ontulili Market masterplan

Following a community-engaged design process, KDI produced three masterplans for the Counties to cost and construct.

The sustainably focused plans feature amenities to cater to all community members’ needs, including sanitation blocks with “eco toilets," market stalls created with re-purposed shipping containers, rainwater harvesting, sustainable drainage solutions and open green spaces for events and recreation.


Women business owners at a market

These three projects demonstrate how Kenya’s county governments can implement more sustainable and community-focused urban development.

Once constructed, they will improve access to healthy produce, promote active lifestyles, increase economic opportunity, and bring community members, business leaders, and visitors together – all while minimizing the environmental impacts of development.