Materials that have ended up in the dumpsite can benefit the community while also creating unique street designs in the process
Better public spaces and streets in Nairobi: This is the dream of a group of young international and local architects and urbanists that have formed the organization Making Cities Together. In this direction, they have been working with the Dandora Transformation League, a community-driven organization that has been improving the quality of living in Dandora estate in Nairobi, Kenya. The city was previously well-known mainly for its Dandora dumpsite, the largest unregulated landfill in East Africa and one of the worldâ€™s largest. Together with UN-Habitat, the organizations created the UPcycle commUNITY campaign, aiming to transform the waste from this landfill into bricks for pedestrian-friendly streets, while creating a network of colourful, vibrant, safe and clean public spaces through participatory public spaces restoration. Their first attempt is called â€˜The Model Street Projectâ€™, where a previously grimy street in Dandora estate will be transformed into a beautiful street with benches, trees and street lighting (see proposed model street image below).
Apart from ameliorating public spaces in the area, the initiative will also contribute to mitigate the environmental and health risks of the landfill (not only on its surroundings but also in a larger scale as the contaminated Nairobi River skirting the dumpsite flows further until the Indian Ocean!), foster social cohesion and sense of community ownership of the public space and offer new income-generating fresh opportunities in Dandora, where high unemployment rates (especially among its youth) have been a major cause of crime.
The Model Street Project is funded by the UN-Habitat and the Dutch Doen Foundation and is being implemented by DTL in cooperation with several partners including: Placemakers, KUWA, Cave Design Architects, Avanti Architecture, Jotun, Village Market, International Federation for Housing and Planning (IFPH) and International New Town Institute (INTI).
If the project proves successful, these special streets could expand to Nairobi, to Kenya, to Africa and to the world!
Proposed Model Street