Morphological Transformation of Kileleshwa, Nairobi

  • Collins Sasakah Makunda The Oslo School of Architecture and Design
Keywords: Apartment block, Building typology, Density, Kileleshwa, Morphology, Nairobi, Plot, Street layout, Transformation, Urban habitat


In this paper, we investigate the physical manifestation of ongoing urban habitat transformation in the context of a residential neighbourhood, Kileleshwa, which is located in the western suburbs of Nairobi. This is done through an analysis of the emergent morphology of the urban habitat by delving into various levels of urban resolution: the street network, the plots, and the buildings while tracing the roots of the neighbourhood in the colonial era and its rapid change in the current millennium. In so doing, the aim was to understand the degree to which these dimensions had undergone change as a consequence of the urban transformation. The findings of the paper are that at the different levels – the street, plot, and building – a variation in transformation has occurred, with a resultant increase in the density of the urban habitat. This variation is explored in detail at these different levels of the neighbourhood’s urban tissue. In shedding light on this ongoing transformation, the paper contributes to a deeper understanding of how an urban habitat has actually transformed, as manifested in its physical outcomes, which have in turn set the stage for the social transformation of the urban context.