Making Cities Together

    Improving public spaces in Nairobi

  • Join the Urban Thinkers Campus, 3-4 May, Nairobi

    Making Cities Together:

    The City We Need through Safe, Inclusive and Accessible Public Spaces



  • Videos on Making Cities Together!


    Minecraft design workshop with the dandora community

    Building Public Spaces - Minecraft Workshop in Dandora. Local youth who are repurposing courtyards in Dandora are being trained in using Minecraft to help develop their dreams into reality. 


    Placemaking Design Lab

    International and local design teams in collaboration with local initiatives designed 3 public spaces strategies in Nairobi.

  • Fast growing cities, like Nairobi, face serious challenges in developing into an inclusive and prosperous environment. The Making Cities Together project aims to develop a sustainable, viable & long-term agenda for Nairobi’s public spaces as an entry point to urban development.

    In May 2015 the Placemaking Design Lab took place to develop new strategies for public spaces in the City centre, Dandora and Korogocho. The 'Must Seed' strategy in Dandora was selected for implementation.


    Currently, we are developing a Model Street, a 'place to be' in Dandora and an inspiring example of a well designed and used public space. 


    Placemaking Inventory


    The inventory identified 17 socio-spatial initiatives across the city. The initiatives result into a higher quality of life and impact livelihoods, still they continue to face challenges including inadequate funding, land ownership, community engagement, expertise and politics.


    Location research

    The use and physical aspects of public spaces were research at 6 of the initiatives in the city centre, neighbourhoods and informal settelements.

    Placemaking Design Lab

    3 New Placemaking Design Strategies were developed by international and local design teams in collaboration with local initiatives. In a public presentation at Naipolitans' platform in Memorial Park the strategies were shared and discussed.

    Placemaking Design Intervention

    In Dandora the first step towards the 'Must Seed' strategy will be implemented: a model street to show an example of a well designed and used public space.

    Building Party!

    Together with the Dandora transformation league we are implementing a model street in Dandora, a neighbourhood in Nairobi. based on the strategy from the lab and the minecraft community workshop we are planting trees, painting the facades, placing bins and constructing welcoming gateways. 

    Knowledge sharing 

    - Exhibition at N-Aerus 15th conference, Brussels, NOV 2014,

    - Public debate Naipolitans, Nairobi, NOV 2014.
    - Exhibition at Prepcom2 & GC25, Nairobi APR 2015.

    - PUblic space biennalE, Rome, May 2015

    -IFHP Summit, BERLIN, Nov 2015


    - PLACEMAKING WEEK Nairobi, DEC 2016,

    - UTC, Nairobi, 3-4 May 2017


    To create sustainable public spaces, drivers for a better city, we collaborate with stakeholders: local initiatives, government, private sector, academia, NGO's, bilateral organisations and above all citizens. Join us!

  • 3 Placemaking Design Strategies

    for court yards, a street and a park in Nairobi


    'Must Seed' is developed as a step-by-step strategy to scale up from the successfully improved court yards to the streets to eventually the whole neighborhood of Dandora.
    Making Cities Together selected this strategy is to implement, which will be a benchmark for other neighborhoods in Nairobi and other cities in Kenya.


    Currently, a Model Street is being created together with the local community, experts and sponsors.

    See more...



  • What is happening right now?

    1. Building Parties in the Model Street, Dandora, Nairobi, May-July 2017
    2. #UrbanThinkers Campus, UN compound, Nairobi, 3-4 May 2017
    3. Crowdfunding campaign UPcycle commUNITY, May-June 2017 

  • Making Cities Together with...

    Project initiators, Organizers, Advisors, Community organisation and the Design Team.

    Thanks to the support of UN-Habitat, Nairobi City County, Stichting DOEN, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, University of Nairobi, Technical University of Kenya, Naipolitans, Kounkuey Design Initiative, GoDownArtCentre, Placemaking Initiatives in Nairobi, Projects for Public spaces, Community Media House, Philips, House of Manji, Wire products ltd., Village Market and Jotun.


    Project initiator

    A world-wide network in the broad fields of housing, urban development and planning - Denmark


    Project initiator

    Think and do tank for young cities - The Netherlands


    Project initiator / local organiser

    Placemaking, Research and design Studio - The Netherlands



    Community based organisation

    Dandora Transformation League: impacting low income urban communities based in Dandora to live a life of health,security,dignity and well-being - Kenya


    Local design team

    Design bureau, creative services in architecture, interior and landscape - Kenya


    Local design team

    Consultancy and design partnership dedicated to urbanism, architecture, urban transport and research with a holistic and visionary approach - Kenya



    International design team

    Works and collaborates on issues related to built form, with a scope from research to design - The Netherlands

    Rodeo Architects

    International design team

    Interdisciplinary architectural practice that has established itself in the overlap between design, strategy, and research - Norway

    Avanti Architecture

    Local design team

    International design studio operating within the fields of architecture, urbanism, research and development. AVANTI’s architecture emerges out of a careful analysis of how contemporary life constantly evolves and changes - Kenya


    Project partner

    Dutch Alliance for Sustainable Urban Development in Africa - The Netherlands


    Project advisor

    Works in urban planning issues facing Kenya & initiating a students network that closes the gap between education and reality - Kenya



    Supports committed entrepeneurs with sustainable, cultural and socially-engaged initiatives towards a green, socially-inclusive and creative society. DOEN offers these people financial support and brings them together to connect them - The Netherlands



    Together we organised a Minecraft workshop with the community. The designs that were created, are now being implemented with the help of UN-Habitat.

  • How can you contribute to the improvement of the public places in Dandora? 

    Please leave a message to Naomi


    • Construction
    • Legislation
    • Crowd funding
    • Legal


    • Plants, flowers & trees
    • Bins
    • Tools 
    • Street lighting
    • Paint


    • Private donation
    • Sponsoring 
  • Join us! 

    Please like our Facebook page - Making Cities Together or fill in the form. 

  • Making Cities Together documents & links

    Public spaces are the drivers in urban development in Nairobi & world wide.

    Download now!

    The Inventory was conducted in collaboration with the Technical University of Kenya and was exhibited at the N-Aerus 15th International Conference in Brussels, 27-29 November 2014. "Real Change?, exploring and assessing ways to co-produce knowledge for tangible transformations in the cities of the South."

    Social and spatial research of a selection of the public spaces was done by interdisciplinary teams of sociologists, urban designers, planners and architects of the University of Nairobi, Centre for Urban Research and Innovations.

    Presentation of the upscaling strategy Must Seed in the neighborhood Dandora. 

    Design team: Mustard Seeds, Citilinks, Avanti Architecture, Land + Civilization Compositions and Rodeo Architects.

    Jeevanjee Gardens are in rehabilitation, here you will find the presentation of tactical urbanism: undesigning, trial and error, testing of strategy, participatory processes to make the city more responsive to its use. 
    Design team: Urban Codes, Cave, KUWA and METASITU. 

    The final presentation of the Korogocho team: By involving not only youth but also women and elderly intensely use the streets it is possible to create a safer environment. Getting people out of their safe houses and shared alleyways is essential to create a successful public space.

    Design team: Hoperaisers, Cave, Paul Currion, Boogertman+Partners, Bantu Studio and Ma3Route.

    Placemaking Design Lab's process, participants and images. 

    Naivasha, Kenya, 17 June 2015 - Kenya’s Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development is conducting a series of consultation workshops with all the 47 county governments to validate the draft National Urban Development Policy (NUDP). UN-Habitat is supporting this process as part of its support to the Kenya Municipal Programme.

    The proposed Master Plan will integrate all the existing Master Plans of various infrastructures within the city of Nairobi and its surrounding. Infrastructure to be included is urban transport, railway, airport, power, water supply, sewerage, telecommunication and solid waste management.

    Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero and UN-Habitat Executive Director Joan Clos launched the Jeevanjee Gardens Public Space Project on 24 February 2014. This project is a component and demonstration activity of the larger “Nairobi Revitalizing Public Spaces” Project, a joint cooperation of the Nairobi City County and UN-Habitat.

    International Conference Forum Heading Habitat III.

    Central hub of the global Placemaking movement, connecting people to ideas, expertise, and partners who share a passion for creating vital places.

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