Nairobi, 13 April 2016 - Over 100 participants from Nairobi County recently gathered at the UN Headquarters in Nairobi to validate the recently concluded Nairobi Open Public Spaces Assessment and Inventory. This is the first ever inventory of the public spaces in the capital city of Kenya.

During the occasion that was attended by high ranking national and county government leaders, the Deputy Governor Jonathan Mueke informed participants that the county was developing a policy on the identification on public spaces to ensure that they are safe and inclusive. He further indicated that he was ‘very pleased with the inventory’ and that it was important in filling information gaps, emphasizing the importance of the inventory because ‘if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it’.

The Nairobi Public Space Inventory is the result of collaboration between the Nairobi County and UN-Habitat. Over the last 3 years, UN-Habitat’s Global Programme on Public Space has partnered with the County of Nairobi to improve the public spaces in the city. The inventory is a key output of that collaboration and is a step to develop criteria for selecting an additional 60 public spaces for rehabilitation/upgrading and a city-wide strategy on public space for the city.

Teams comprising sub-county and ward administration, students from the University of Nairobi and the Technical University and residents in the city collected public space data in all the 17 sub-counties and 85 wards in Nairobi. The process began with an initial workshop to develop a draft questionnaire for use in developing the inventory. The finalized questionnaire was uploaded to a crowd-sourcing app – the Kobo Toolbox App. The student data collectors who had undergone training on the data collection were placed in data collection teams that comprised an additional data collector from the ward and a resident from the neighbourhood. The questionnaires were administered to random public space users.

Using their phones, and with a location map provided by the county the students collected data on each public space, including the GPS location, the condition of the space, perceptions of the users etc., and took photos of the space. The data was uploaded to the Kobo Toolbox, where it was verified by the ward and county administrators. The data was then analyzed and the GIS team at the county generated various maps from the data. Part of the data was produced in a draft format as a document titled Community Led, Citywide Open Public Spaces Inventory and Assessment: Nairobi City County, Kenya, 2016. This document was presented at the validation workshop for discussion. The document is available for download here.
The validation workshop provided useful feedback for the inventory and proposed some modification and the inclusion of additional issues; the project team is now finalizing the report. The inventory will be instrumental to the county as it progresses into the next phase of the project which is the preparation of a city-wide strategy for public space in Nairobi.