A Tripartite of Spatial Patterns, Sub-Optimal Laws and the Dysfunctional Land-Use Planning in Kenya

  • Jeremiah N. Ayonga University of Nairobi
Keywords: Duality, Formal-Informal, Harmonize, Instruments, Patterns, Proactive-Retroactive


This paper investigated the hypothesis that, for lack of research to bring the ‘duality problem’ in land use management into the fore, policy makers did not incorporate the required instruments into the planning statutes. In this desk study research, the government laws and policies have been critically reviewed in view of possible changes that can accommodate emerging issues in urban-rural space development. The key finding was that one of the aftermaths of the colonial policy of ‘White-African’ space divide was the creation of formal and informal space patterns in Kenya. In the mid-90s, areas of former class A and B towns, which were well planned during the colonial era, had begun suffering from urban decay, thus requiring renewal. The implication is that towns and rural spaces in Kenya were now characterized by three spatial patterns, namely; the pre-planned, the informal and the areas of urban decay. This was indeed the case, and ineffective planning in Kenya can be seen from this context. As a result, the study recommends that policies and statutes in Kenya require a tripartite set of planning instruments to effectively facilitate the reorganization of the emerging patterns. For instance, laws in Kenya require retroactive and proactive planning instruments which are required to break past space informality and pre-determine desirable patterns in the future.