Accepted paper:

City in flux: An analysis of Nairobi's experience in the wake of globalization


Patrick Mbataru (Kenyatta University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper proposes to give a vista of the dynamics underlying the expansion of Nairobi metropolis. Nairobi is in the true sense of the word an emerging metropolis, impacted currently by the forces of globalization and local public policy.

Paper long abstract:

The objective of this paper is to explore the dynamics underlying the ongoing expansion of Nairobi city, Kenya. These dynamics could be global and/or local in nature. In the last few years, the Kenyan capital has witness exponential growth. The indicators of this is the rapid conversion of agricultural land around the city into real estate. The coffee estates that traditionally signified the rural character of the peri-urban space has been giving way to symbols of globalization, namely supermarkets and high end middle class estates. In many ways these indicate emerging nature of the metropolis as linked to distant metropolis in other countries rather being defined by nationalism.

There are two forces exacting pressure on the city to expand: forces international in nature (therein globalization is subsumed) as the global economy shifts from west to the east with Africa as the fulcrum of this change. The second force could be a response to these global dynamics namely the implantation of the public policy. Kenya has been implementing the constitutional provision for devolved government. This has seen more resources flowing into the periurban and beyond. This is attracting more economic actors in the neither- nor space between the urban and the countryside. There are malls and roadside markets exhibiting Chinese and European consumer goods. While Nairobi's international linkage is old, it is certainly much younger compared to same experience in North-Africa, something to be explored in this article.

panel P022
Metropolitan emergence: cities in the globalization, views from North and sub-Saharan Africa