Environment & Urbanization

World leading environmental and urban studies journal

Nairobi Slum Inventory

Pamoja Trust

Other authors: 
and Slum Dwellers International

Focus country: 

Focus city: 

Published by: 
Pamoja Trust, Urban Poor Fund International and Shack/Slum Dwellers International

Publisher town: 


This book has short profiles of every informal settlement and informal market in Nairobi and includes details of the settlements’ origins, the threats to land tenure, details about the land and its ownership, the population, housing and services, and main sources of employment. For many, it also includes details of governance and community participation. There are colour photos on nearly every page, and maps and stories and quotes from inhabitants. It provides a reminder of how these informal settlements are the homes and often the workplaces of around half of Nairobi’s entire population. Also of how diverse these settlements are – which also means different needs and different possibilities for improvement. As the authors of this survey note: “…for there to be change, there must be an intervention in each and every slum. An intervention that appreciates each slum’s unique set of circumstances and therefore negotiates and crafts a suit that fits.” The inclusion of stories, quotes, anecdotes and pictures are there “…to give form and life to what may otherwise be a faceless, colourless monologue of discontent.”

Before presenting details of the slums, there is a summary of recent evictions and what underlies these, and a presentation of the survey’s objectives and methods. The objectives include enhancing the capacities of the slum dwellers involved in the study to collect, own and appreciate the use of self-generated information in addressing development needs. Most of the information about each slum settlement came from elderly residents. Some of the settlement names give clues as to their origin, such as Kambi Moto (the “place of fire”, after a series of devastating fires), Mahira (the “place that got burnt” after the settlement burnt down in 1983) and Redeemed (after a local church that helped them build).

Available from: 
The entire publication can be downloaded from http://www.sdinet.co.za/ (the file is 35 Megabytes so it can take some time to download).

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