Nairobi’s Transformation: From Green City to Concrete Jungle

By Yvonne Idamano

Once hailed as the “green city under the sun,” Nairobi was a dream destination for many, boasting lush vegetation and abundant opportunities. Karura forest, teeming with wildlife, and the unique feature of a national park within the capital city made Nairobi truly breathtaking. However, in the post-colonial era, greed took hold, and Nairobi’s decline began.

Rapid population growth due to rural-urban migration led to congestion and urban sprawl. Beautiful greenery gave way to construction projects, transforming Nairobi into a concrete jungle dominated by high-rise buildings and multifamily apartments. Unfortunately, this development boom occurred without proper sanitation planning, resulting in a city ill-prepared for the rainy season.

The recent floods have exposed Nairobi’s inadequate drainage system, causing widespread displacement and chaos. Despite promises from successive governments to address the issue, little has been done, and the city continues to suffer from poor infrastructure and planning.

Additionally, Nairobi’s once orderly streets have descended into chaos, with hawkers occupying every corner of the central business district (CBD). Garbage collection has become a glaring issue, plagued by corruption and inefficiency, leaving the city littered and unsightly.

The path to reclaiming Nairobi’s former glory will not be easy, but it is essential for urban sustainability. Immediate action is needed to address the city’s infrastructure challenges, improve sanitation, and restore orderliness to the streets. Only then can Nairobi regain its status as a vibrant, green city worthy of its reputation.

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