Kenya’s cities and towns seem to have no forethought put into them when it comes to their growth whatsoever and we can blame this on our lack of urban planners whose job it would be to make decisions on how our cities and towns should develop.Of course each administrative council in the country be it ,a town council,municipal council has a department of urban planning but it is questionable if their advice is even sought if the rate at which thoughtless developments are taking place is anything to go by.
In an earlier blog post here in April of this year i had lamented the fact that the real estate industry was threatening the very livelihood of our country by encroaching on agricultural land .Housing estates are coming up left ,right,centre in every major town in the country,the situation is especially sad in Nakuru because people are selling off rich agricultural land .In areas that should be the source of food and livelihoods,people are looking for the quick shilling to be made by subdividing the land and selling it off to Kenyans who have suddenly got a voracious appetite to be home owners.Sad indeed….
If we indeed do have urban planners in some of these towns am sure they should be at the fore front of managing the now free for all real estate industry that is slowly becoming a cash cow for the well heeled in terms of money.Land has always and will always remain an emotive issue but i think prioritizing our needs and wants should be key.Would you rather live in an Italian marble palace or go to bed with a full stomach.These are some of the questions we should be asking our selves.
Our cities and towns are growing daily with malls,office blocks and all manner of structures being put up daily,but how many of these have been well thought out ideas that take into consideration the growth of these towns and cities in the future.We are seeing most of these towns turning into concrete jungles with no thought given to recreation facilities like parks or even public utilities.
What is interesting to note is that for our cities and towns to grow we need to think not of today but 50 years ahead.In 2070,where will the residents of Nairobi be living,getting their water from,will there be enough electricity,sewage lines to cater for the cities population or will the city be another spot in the annals of history that was obliterated by a lack of planning.
Take the case of Nakuru that is said to be one of the fastest growing towns,how will the town;s growing population affect the environment around the lake,the deforestation in the Mau Forest that is threatening the very existence of Lake Nakuru,is there worse to come if we do not mange the way this town is growing?
These and many other questions can be replicated in the planning of the towns we envision to have by 2030 and that i think should be what urban planners (if we have any) should be asking themselves and advising the county governments set to come in after the general elections next year.