Settlement upgrading in Kenya : the case for environmental planning and management strategies
Environmental degradation from problems of the 'Brown Agenda' is an everyday reality in Kenya's rapidly growing urban centres; and it is the low-income majority who are most affected. Deficient water supply and sanitation, inadequate solid waste disposal, and poor drainage are among the foremost problems that characterize informal settlements in which indigent urbanites are compelled to live. Analysis of environmental problems at settlement and household level can provide vital information about the appraisive environmental perceptions and cognitions of inhabitants of informal settlements, as well as their satisfaction with the infrastructural services to which they have access and their housing conditions, in general. Such information is essential to the formulation of apposite strategies for sustainable improvement of environmental conditions in informal settlements. Based largely on a comprehensive review of theoretical perspectives on the urban housing question in the South, international policy responses and experiences with settlement upgrading, this thesis seeks a better understanding of the socioeconomic and physio-environmental dynamics of urban low-income informal settlements and the formulation and implementation of upgrading policies. A comparative analysis of two majengos in Kenya-one of which has been upgraded while the other has not-serves to contextualize the study. The central thesis in the present study is that settlement upgrading is the most rational approach to improving the residential circumstances of the urban poor majority in Kenya. Applying a fundamentally liberal approach, the development of pragmatic opportunities is discussed, and pursuable policies and programmes, which are realistic and implementable, for effective environmental planning and management of urban low-income informal settlements in Kenya are proposed.