Bahati, Maringo and other decayed estates set for a major facelift

A fresh bid to give the old estates in Kenya’s capital city a new look is underway with Nairobi City County seeking bids from financiers and developers to build modern houses in nine popular neighborhoods in the Eastlands region.

The county is now inviting requests for proposals from development partners in the banking industry, pension schemes, real estate firms as well as other investors to redevelop Bahati, Maringo, Jericho, Lumumba, Bondeni, Ziwani, Kariobangi North, Ziwani as well as Woodley estate, off Ngong Road. The redevelopment is set to be done under a joint venture approach.

“The developments will be undertaken in a phased approach beginning with open spaces within the estates to minimize displacements,” a notice from Nairobi City County notes in part.

The undertaking is modeled to help check worsening urban decline, improve the built environment, and increase the housing stock to meet the rising demand for houses. The county is counting on the plan to promote the optimal use of land while also enhancing the socio-economic life of millions of residents.

The latest move adds to previous engagements by authorities in the city who have attempted to tackle the ever-worsening challenge of decayed estates.

Many of the estates earmarked for redevelopment were constructed during Kenya’s colonial period, and have since become dilapidated and unconnected or insufficiently connected to basic social amenities and services.

Many of the old estates were designed, planned, and build without sufficient regard for future population trends in the city, and over the years the lack of proper urban housing policy frameworks has failed to attract enough private investment to provide low-cost housing.

Read also: President Ruto shields Eastern Bypass from budget cuts

The Kenya Kwanza government plans to restructure affordable long-term housing finance scheme, including at the National Housing Fund and Cooperative Social Housing Schemes to guarantee the off-take of houses from developers. According to the 2023 Budget Policy Statement, this initiative is expected to increase the number of mortgages from 30,000 to 1,000,000 by enabling low-cost mortgages of Kes10,000 and below.

In January, President William Ruto presided over the ground-breaking of Shauri Moyo affordable housing project in Nairobi, adding to Mukuru Met Site and Kibera in Soweto B, areas where he has overseen the construction of affordable houses in the city.

“We are going to work with the Nairobi county government and all the other agencies so that these 3,000 acres, we can at least do between 400,000 and 500,000 housing units that will support the people of Nairobi, as we do it elsewhere,” Dr Ruto said at Shauri Moyo.

Most of Nairobi’s old estates are characterized by low-rise housing units usually covering extensive parcels of land in a city where land is increasingly becoming a rare resource in the face of an ever-rising rural-urban migration since independence in 1963.

According to the 2018 Nairobi County Urban Housing Renewal and Regeneration policy paper, the old estates either fall within areas lacking or with deplorable public open spaces. Accordingly, it is imperative for the renewal projects to improve the existing open public spaces in the residential estates. 

The policy also notes that to ensure efficient utilization of the available water resources, the renewal projects shall be designed in ways that maximize water collection, conservation, storage, treatment, recycling, and re-use.

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