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Themes: Inclusive Design

Inclusive Infrastructure Case Study is launched in Nairobi, a city experiencing rapid growth and investment in infrastructure

Nairobi [Kenya] is experiencing rapid growth and investment in infrastructure, which offers great potential to embed inclusion. The city has complex urban development challenges with roads and transportation commonly cited as major challenges. More than half of Nairobi’s residents live in the informal settlements in the city which are areas of high-density, poor-quality accommodation and lack basic infrastructure such as roads, water and sanitation infrastructure and power.

Many persons with disabilities live in these communities due to reinforcing cycles of disability and poverty - however, there is vision and ambition in Nairobi to improve urban conditions. There is also a good policy basis to make progress towards disability inclusion.

This case study, funded through UK aid AT2030 programme, explores the current situation of inclusive and accessible environments for people with disabilities living in Nairobi. The research findings detailed in this report describe the current challenges and opportunities for embedding inclusive design in Nairobi’s future, providing priority recommendations and forward-thinking next steps.

The research took place in three phases between July 2021 and January 2022, combining both virtual and face to face approaches. Phase 1 focused on understanding the current state of accessibility through desk research and interviews, phase 2 captured the lived experience of people with disabilities utilising interviews, photo diaries and co-design activities. Phase 3 then synthesised findings, running multiple workshops to create actions towards inclusive environments. Thematic analysis was applied to understand the research data, identifying key themes across three different stakeholder groups of People, Policy, and Practice.

The themes identified span across daily life, poverty, transport, housing, sanitation, public spaces and recreational activities. Quotes from participants are interwoven into this report, and strengthen the concluding actions towards inclusion; as one participant described:

“An inclusive Nairobi is somewhere that can be experienced by everybody in a fair and equal way. By creating safe and accessible environments for all members of the community the city can allow everyone to access and participate in the opportunities they would like”

Kenya has a strong legal framework to create inclusive cities and further disability inclusion. There is clear appetite from Government to take action represented through these legal frameworks. Nairobi is a city of innovation - business opportunities and the start-up ecosystem is vibrant. Innovation must be inclusive to ensure basic support and access to livelihoods is not be forgotten.

Read the executive summary or see the full case study report. You can also catch up on the launch event on YouTube.