Bernadette Wanjiru Mwaniki

Degree Programme
Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Governance and Management
Research Topic:
Sustainable Urban Open Spaces Planning and Governance in Nairobi County, Kenya
Bernadette Wanjiru Mwaniki


Many public open spaces, including critical wetlands and riparian reserves, have been alienated in Nairobi County. Few studies have investigated the degree and root causes of their loss or suggested urban planning and governance models for protection, sustainable provision, delivery and management. These areas are explored in the current thesis attempting to establish a sustainable delivery model centred on collaborative governance and integrative urban planning reinforced by a theoretical framework of one overarching and four complementary theories. The study adopted quantitative and qualitative approaches of scientific investigation. Research instruments comprised of questionnaires, key informant face-to-face interviews, participant observations, review of maps and documents and investigation of the three case studies of Karura Forest, Uhuru Park and Lavington Estate. The study findings revealed serious alienation of public open spaces and mismanagement of the existing resource partly resulting from autocratic governance, top down planning model and inadequate open space delivery, management and governance frameworks. The study recommended collaborative governance, accordance of pertinent status to urban planning in Nairobi County and provision of open spaces delivery and management framework. In conclusion the study advocated designation of Nairobi County as a Special Status District, institutionalization of Resident Associations and application of modern urban planning practices that promote implementation of SDGs in Nairobi County’s development agendas.