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Research Article |

The Effectiveness of Land Use Administration and Governance on Controlling Urban Spatial Forms in Nairobi

It is recognised that in developing human settlements, the use and tenure of land should be subject to public control, since land is limited in supply. The demand for housing by the middle-income group in Nairobi, as in many other cities of the global south, is of a significant size, and growing at an alarming rate. This article demonstrates that this group is not only an engine of economic growth, but also a driver for new urban spatial forms, including residential developments. However, housing developers for the middle income group, in pursuance of high investment returns, are not necessarily concerned about complying with planning laws and regulations; they have found ways to negotiate with land administration and governance to realise returns from their investments. This phenomenon of non-compliance with planning laws and regulations is an on-going issue of concern for sub-Sahara Africa cities; it creates informality in urban development in that the resulting developments have aspects which are perceived to be outside formal planning stipulations. This article investigates the effectiveness of land use administration and governance on controlling middle-income housing developments in Nairobi. Qualitative interviewing was aimed at understanding perceptions of the planning system by both planners and developers, and how and why their interests differ. It was of interest to this research to find out why non-compliance in land use planning is tolerated or ignored. The study argues that even though developers defy the planning system, their contribution to the production of habitable space is commendable because they bridge a large gap in urban housing provision – they play an important role and planners would do well to embrace this. Non-compliance in land use planning, and informalities in housing developments thereon, does not necessarily produce inappropriate housing for the residents. Resulting residential developments have a niche in the housing market and serve a housing need, affirming that local perceptions and realities are not in sync with formal planning requirements of the state.

Land Administration, Governance, Non-Compliance, Planners, Developers, Conflicting Interests

APA Style

Mwangi, M. M. (2024). The Effectiveness of Land Use Administration and Governance on Controlling Urban Spatial Forms in Nairobi. Urban and Regional Planning, 9(1), 12-23. https://doi.org/10.11648/j.urp.20240901.12

ACS Style

Mwangi, M. M. The Effectiveness of Land Use Administration and Governance on Controlling Urban Spatial Forms in Nairobi. Urban Reg. Plan. 2024, 9(1), 12-23. doi: 10.11648/j.urp.20240901.12

AMA Style

Mwangi MM. The Effectiveness of Land Use Administration and Governance on Controlling Urban Spatial Forms in Nairobi. Urban Reg Plan. 2024;9(1):12-23. doi: 10.11648/j.urp.20240901.12

Copyright © 2024 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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