Tomorrow's Nairobi

“The future Kibera should be safe from risks, inclusive and supportive to livelihood and security, jobs, social cohesion, and quality infrastructural amenities”.

    John, 55, resident in the Kibera informal settlement 


Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya. The name is derived from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nairobi, which translates to "place of cool waters", a reference to the Nairobi River which flows through the city and often contributes to severe flooding. 

Its population of 5 million is growing at a rapid pace of 4-5% each year. Half of this population lives in informal settlements, or ‘slums’, which occupy just 12% of the city’s land area. Meanwhile, Nairobi is one of Africa’s economic hubs and home to leading international institutions on environment and risk-related issues, including the UN Environment Programme and UN-Habitat.



Nairobi demographic data


Nairobi Challenges 


The development of Nairobi is facing threats from multiple hazards, which are worsened by the impacts of changing environmental and climate conditions, as well as the rapid growth of its population and infrastructure. Floods, building collapses, and fires are common occurrences, and the city is vulnerable to larger scale disasters such as earthquakes.

The cumulative effects of these major hazards over time also result in the emergence of various day-to-day risks within slum areas, such as health hazards, sanitation issues, and traffic accidents, which further perpetuate cycles of poverty through social, environmental, and economic disintegration.



As one of Africa's leading economic hubs, Nairobi contributes a significant 21.7% to the national GDP. However, there are challenges that hinder the city's economic development and its progress towards meeting the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. These challenges include a focus on emergency response rather than proactive planning for the future, as well as inadequate integration and consideration of the urban poor living in informal settlements who are particularly vulnerable to disasters.

To address these challenges, the Nairobi County Government has introduced the County Disaster Management Act, which mandates the Directorate of Disaster Management to develop a comprehensive disaster management plan. Additionally, the City Government has initiated Special Planning Area (SPA) initiatives to engage various stakeholders and promote an integrated approach to disaster risk reduction within slum areas.


Key stakeholders

  • Kibera and Mukuru informal settlement communities/Spatial Planning Areas
  • Nairobi City County Government



Nairobi’s approach using the TCDSE. 

The TCDSE presents an opportunity to promote community-informed city planning in Nairobi. The Kibera informal settlement, which has recently been designated as a Special Planning Area (SPA), serves as a case study for future visioning efforts in the city. The visioning process for Kibera SPA aims to inform risk-proof planning, build capacity, and support policy and decision-making processes in close collaboration with the Nairobi City County Government (NCCG), the Building Climate Resilience for the Urban Poor (BCRUP 2020-2030) programme under the State Department for Housing and Urban Development, and other relevant stakeholders.

Nairobi Publications
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Review of flood modelling and models in developing cities and informal settlements: A case of Nairobi city

Study region: This study focuses on urban flood modelling in developing cities with a special focus on informal s

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Community Engagement on Disaster Risk Reduction - Third Dialogue

The third DRR and gender mainstreaming dialogue with community leaders was hosted by the Nairobi Risk Hub on Wednesday the 3rd of February, 2021 on zoom platform.

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Community Engagement on Disaster Risk Reduction - Second Dialogue

The second community dialogue on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) was hosted by The Nairobi Risk Hub on the 26th of November, 2020.

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Gendered Impacts of COVID-19

In the context that we live in, risks abound and are systemic in nature. Proliferating risks are emerging in ways never anticipated before.

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Cities of the Future: Pathways to a Resilient African City Beyond COVID-19

This technical report summarizes the key emerging highlights from the “Cities of the Future: Pathways to a Resilient African City Beyond COVID-19” seminar under the Cities and Resilience theme that

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Multi-Hazard Scenarios and Dynamic Risk

In this paper, we discuss the dynamic nature of risk through the lens of multi-hazard relationships and scenarios.