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Title: Integrating geo-information tools in informal settlement upgrading processes in Nairobi, Kenya
Authors: Mbathi, Musyimi
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: The continuing existence of informal settlements within the cities of developing countries presents a threat to development objectives. To address challenges existing within informal settlements, upgrading and planning approaches have integrated technology-based tools, such as Geographic Information Systems, to quantify, visualise and provide information that can support decision-making processes. The integration of Geo-Information (GI) tools in upgrading processes is seen to provide the necessary information that city planners need to take action on informal settlements. However, there is as yet no appropriate framework for the integration of these tools within the upgrading processes. The primary focus in upgrading settlements is the improvement of living conditions through addressing existing environmental challenges, with the active participation of their respective communities. Planning processes have adopted inclusive approaches which are geared towards getting all actors, including communities, involved in decision-making and planning for interventions. GI tools offer a platform for better information, thereby enabling communities especially to participate effectively in the planning and management of new infrastructure, as well as settlement upgrading. This study therefore proposes a responsive and inclusive framework for the integration of GI tools in upgrading processes. The study was carried out in three informal settlements within Nairobi City, Kenya. Using a range of qualitative methods, the study critically examines the participation by respective stakeholders, especially communities, and how the GI tools have been used to address existing challenges within the settlements. The discussion and analysis is divided into three themes: 1) the process 2) the participation 3) addressing the challenges. It shows that owing to the GI tools, enhanced participation and subsequent empowerment of communities at various levels of upgrading took place. However, certain barriers still exist. The intrinsic challenges that abound in social, cultural and political landscapes continue to hinder low-income communities from achieving high-level participation in upgrading.
Description: PhD thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape

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