Making room for people

Nairobi, Kenya ,2018

Luthuli Avenue, in the of Nairobi, was a polluted, congested, and contested space between pedestrians, cyclists and a chaotic flow of vehicles.

Urban areas in developing countries face high volumes of traffic, a lack of infrastructure for walking and cycling, and fast-growing populations. Mobility issues play a key role in agendas (SDGs) that seek to address climate change, and to promote sustainable development and human health and well-being.

Therefore it was decided to intervene this avenue between April 2018 and February 2019, as part of the project i-CMiiST: Implementing Creative Methodological Innovations for Inclusive Sustainable Transport Planning. It was initiated by the Stockholm Environment Institute and funded by @thebritishacademy, with numerous contributors (find them tagged).

Codesign and public participation was promoted in different ways:
– Photography hangout (to capture the diverse meanings that people assert to the street)
– Physical 3D on-location participatory mapping
– Visual storytelling
– Urban dialogue
– Design competition
– Tactical placemaking, uncovering (un)intended consequences

A dedicated lane was installed for cyclists and wide walkways, lined with benches and newly planted trees, were given to pedestrians, which is the mode of transport for half of all residents to get to work. With the noise and fumes reduced, walkers had a reason to linger, and businesses saw an increase in footfall.

Due to its success, Luthuli Avenue was permanently redesigned to create a more walkable, bikeable, safe, clean and inclusive street. Moreover, the i-CMiiST project became part of Nairobi City County Government’s walkability and bikeability policy.

Photos by: @hcambridge2, @kuyo1, @peter.achayo

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