Children’s needs ignored in Nairobi’s physical planning

Riding a bike, which children love, is also out of the question: cycle paths are almost always missing, or if present, an afterthought and poorly constructed. Now, let us talk about road safety and schools. On the walk to school, a child might have to cross a very large and hectic road. PHOTO | FILE

What you need to know:

  • Nairobi began as a colonial city where African men were seen as migrant labour. Thus African women and children were not supposed to be in Nairobi. The poor-quality dormitory housing and the lack of facilities like schools for African children reflected this. White and Asian children figured in the planning, but not the African child.
  • School vehicle travel is unregulated. The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure has “guidelines”, but legally enforceable rules to ensure safety are not properly in place. So middle-class parents often drive their children to school, contributing to traffic congestion.
  • Riding a bike, which children love, is also out of the question: cycle paths are almost always missing, or if present, an afterthought and poorly constructed.

Children are a kind of indicator species. If we can build a successful city for children, we will have a successful city for all people. - Enrique Penalosa

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