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Jackson Gathanga: City-regions for cultural nomads: Leveraging transitory rural-urban networks in Nairobi’s peripheries through regional agroecological systems; A guide to city-region planning in Kenya

Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Mentors: Caroline Newton, Ellen van Bueren
Keywords: City-region, peripherals, rural-urban links, agroecology, adaptive governance

Nairobi, like many other major African cities, is characterized by urban primacy, highly rooted in its historical colonial context, where it is three to four times larger than the country’s second largest city. Similarly, it faces rapid urbanization, increasing inequality and poverty, and a burgeoning and vulnerable urban youth population who constitute majority of the population. Despite this, it continues to attract an increasing population of rural-urban migrants who are in search of the opportunities and benefits afforded by urban areas. A closer look at the social-economic lifestyle of a large group of Nairobi urbanites reveals a strong link between urban and rural areas which can be attributed to social-economic circular migration patterns. By closely evaluating these patterns and the everyday socio-economic settings of Nairobi urbanites, this project seeks to investigate these migratory socio-economic patterns that establish connective socio-spatial patterns between the rural and urban areas. Consequently, it evaluates how these patterns can be leveraged against currently practised neo-liberal urban development models in the region, to advocate for a more sustainable system of decentralized urban development that caters to the needs of a rapidly growing urban population. 

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