Global Street Design Guide

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Global Street Design Guide

Case Study 3: Streets of Korogocho; Nairobi, Kenya

Location: Korogocho, Nairobi, Kenya
Population: 3.7 million
Area: 0.89 km
Right-of-Way: Various
Context: Residential (Informal Settlement)
Cost: 210 million KES (approx. 2 million USD)
Funding: Kenya-Italy Debt for Development Programme (KIDDP), Government of Italy through the Italian Development Cooperation, and the Government of Kenya


Korogocho is Nairobi’s fourth-largest informal settlement. Settlement began in the 1970s by quarry workers and first underwent redevelopment in 1987. Since then, the streets have been appropriated for various uses and have become narrower over time.

The Street Upgrading Project is part of a larger program called Korogocho Slum Upgrading Program (KSUP). To address the key issues of poor access roads, bad drainage, inadequate streetlights, and poor water and sewage systems, the KSUP planning process aimed to use integrated participatory planning steps as a resilient slum-upgrading method.


The project helped promote microeconomic activity, increase the number of jobs, and improve the perception of safety. The redesigned streets provided a greater number of public meeting places and improved connectivity to the larger urban fabric.



  • Establish residents’ confidence in the upgrading program.
  • Improve physical, economic, and social living conditions through participatory planning and management.
  • Increase microeconomic activity, safety and security, and mobility for residents.
  • Invoke a sense of pride among the residents.
  • Facilitate planning and security of tenure provision.
  • Develop security through increased business opportunities and street lighting.

Key Elements

Streets were prioritized on the basis that they ensured circulation in all eight villages.

Reclaimed public space, reverting street widths back to those established in the 1987 upgrading.

New connections to surrounding urban fabric.

Increased access and basic services (drainage, water, sewerage, and street lighting).

Lessons Learned

The level of participation highly affects residents’ attachment to the streets. Communication is crucial to raise awareness of the changes carried out by the project.

Engage with the residents in the upgrading process to ensure social sustainability in these areas.

The safety of a street has many dimensions. Design streets to accommodate all users and discourage criminal activities.

Create streets to accommodate all modes of transportation.

Maintain the street’s role as a vibrant public meeting space.

Design streets to be flexible and satisfy various community needs. Provide temporary structures as well as permanent ones.

Consider waste management, cleaning, and repairing of the streets in slum settlements.


Public Agencies
Ministries of Local Government, Housing, Lands and Finance; City, County, and Province of Nairobi; Italian Government

Citizen Associations and Nonprofits
Korogocho Residents Committee, UN Habitat, Comboni missionaries

Designers and Engineers
The Nairobi City Council and the Ministry of Local Government


Residents reported:

  • An increase in new activities
  • An increase in pedestrian volumes
  • An increased number of vendors and business activities
  • An increase in the perception of safety

Project Timeline

Adapted by Global Street Design Guide published by Island Press.