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Building Parties: Reimagining the streets of Dandora as people-places

A great milestone in the implementation of the Model Street programme in Nairobi, Kenya has been achieved with the organization of ‘Building Parties’. The events  brought pomp and colour to Dandora, warming the street, bringing women and children together in planting trees, cleaning up the streets, engaging the youth and elderly in painting facades and celebrating Dandora’s local character. The building parties collectively contribute to a stronger social fabric and sense of place. The parties were organised into a series of weekly co-creation events, and as part of the ‘#MakingCitiesTogether’ process, were meant to implement the ideas and aspirations of the Model Street in co-creation with the local community.

Modeled as a street party with music and food, and in the spirit of volunteerism and neighbourhood stewardship, the local community was involved in creating a better, livable, safer and more attractive environment.  Local residents had a variety of options on what to participate in. The success was made possible by the local CBO, Dandora Transformation League, which mobilized community members to come out in large numbers and ‘make it rain!’ UN-Habitat, represented by Sofia Samur, held an on-location tree planting, protection, and maintenance training with and for the community. The painting crew was made up of artists seconded by the GoDown Art Centre. The artists teamed up with their counterparts from the neighbourhood.

Making cities together
Inspired by all the good work that the Dandora Transformation League and the design team of Making Cities Together are doing, the area leadership under the Constituency Development Fund stepped in to pave the street and rehabilitate the drainage system. After paving is finished, the joint team of DTL and MCT will start implementing the hardware features in the street. Based on the outcomes of the Minecraft Design Workshop, the lead architect Kabage Karanja from CAVE ltd. created beautiful buildable designs. These include entrances to the street with gateways, as well as seating and landscape features to slow down traffic to create a safe and attractive place for the neighbourhood.  

The building of the Model Street is an important part of the Making Cities Together project. After research and numerous placemaking design workshops all held in participation, the team is finally realizing a better streetscape in co-creation.

Images: KUWA, Sofia Samur and Placemakers

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