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Florah Ikawa-Witte: Rebuilding the Urban Fabric - Nairobi in Post-ausnahmezustand

In December 2007 and January 2008, the image that Kenya has portrayed to the world of peace, or an island of peace in the eastern African region, came tumbling down in the wake of the violence after the 2007 general elections. The contesting of these elections was a floodgate to the half buried problems Kenyan’s have had post independence. In July-August 2007, the Kenyan government drafted the Kenya Vision 2030, a new development blueprint covering the period 2008 to 2030. Contrary to the norm, the government was quick to enforce and begin implementation of the areas covered in the document after lifting the state of emergency. One reason that can be attributed to this is an attempt to try and assuage the discontent, time factor playing a critically important role. The first needs to be addressed were those of the urban areas which were home to the most coordinated unrest. Hence apart from Vision 2030 looking at general development issues e.g. tourism and agriculture, the first aspects that were implemented were those dealing with housing and urbanization. 

Without the assuaging function of the implementation of Vision 2030, would there have been a state of exception that influenced the urban discourse? An analysis of the effects of the unrest reveals an emerging state of exception, when the populace tried to reorganise the tattered urban fabric. Would this have grown to a proportion that significantly influenced designs of the urban
environment? Did it?

This paper follows the wake of the unrest in Nairobi in an attempt to derive the physical and social consequences of such a state of exception/emergency in the design/repair of the urban fabric/environment after a crisis.

About the Author

Florah works at the international Secretariat of Transparency International in Berlin. Prior to this, she worked as a researcher in various projects dealing with urban agriculture/ sustainability of urban projects in Berlin and Nairobi and with a civil society organisation advocating for urban land rights in Cape Town. She also gave instructions in Urban Studies and taught Mathematics and Geography. Florah holds an MSc in Urban Management from Berlin University of Technology and a Bachelors in Education (Science) from Egerton University, Kenya. She is a member of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) sponsored African Good Governance Network.

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