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Inclusive urban planning for improved health outcomes in informal settlements

Ouma, Smith 2021. Inclusive urban planning for improved health outcomes in informal settlements. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This study undertakes a critical assessment of public participation as employed in the Mukuru Special Planning Area (SPA) within Nairobi County. It examines whether the platforms employed for participation in the SPA process provide opportunities to the inhabitants for genuine and meaningful engagement, and whether this can contribute to realization of improved health outcomes for the inhabitants. The study adopts a socio-legal orientation in attending to how the concept of participation is framed, how its legal character is understood, and how it is actually practiced. Participation as a concept and a legal principle has received extensive treatment in urban studies literature. Its practice has however often been overlooked. This prompts this study’s interrogation of ‘participation in action’ in the SPA process and its potential outcomes. The Mukuru informal settlements are selected as a case study. This is informed by the fact that their declaration as a SPA marked the first time in the history of urban planning in Nairobi that the insufficiency of conventional planning methods in areas like Mukuru was acknowledged by planning agencies. The declaration also meant that for the first time, the Constitutional provisions on public participation of marginalized groups in spatial planning would be tested. The Mukuru SPA would set precedent on how local physical development plans are to be developed in a participatory manner. The SPA process is here problematized as an attempt by the inhabitants to challenge exclusion and redefine urban citizenship. The study suggests that the SPA process is a fundamentally political project. It provides to the inhabitants opportunities for redefining urban citizenship beyond its traditional limits. Participating in the SPA enables the inhabitants’ entry into domains of participation from where they can undo an entrenched regime of discriminatory spatial governance, selective planning, and unequal citizenship. Through a theoretical and empirical exploration of the Mukuru informal settlements, the study suggests that public participation as employed in the SPA process is an embodiment of the ‘right to the city’. The study adopts the ‘right to the city’ as a theoretical entry point in analysing how alternative urban citizenship forms are firstly reclaimed and subsequently (re)imagined in Mukuru. It concludes that participation as framed in the SPA process can contribute to the realization of improved health outcomes by the inhabitants. Participation expands their ability to identify the key drivers of health inequity and to collectively develop requisite interventions.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Law
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
K Law > KZ Law of Nations
Uncontrolled Keywords: Participation, Mukuru, Nairobi, Special Planning Area
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 21 April 2022
Date of Acceptance: 20 April 2022
Last Modified: 06 May 2023 02:32

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