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Testing creative research and co-creation methods for urban transport planning

In what ways can creative methods help demystify urban and mobility planning?

By implementing a mix of creative methods for street space planning, Placemakers sought to explore whether more creative co-design methods can reveal alternative or more inclusive streetscape options that facilitate safer urban mobility. In testing creative research and co-creation methods, we also sought to establish whether there were any intended and/or unintended consequences that could be attributed to their use.

This project was initiated by the Stockholm Environment Institute at the University of York, under the name i-CMiiST: Implementing Creative Methodological Innovations for Inclusive Sustainable Transport Planning. It aims to identify ways to address the serious transport issues faced by many African cities.

Based on the concept of co-creation, Placemakers tested a mix of creative methods including a photography hangout, ideas charrette, visual storytelling, urban dialogue, a design competition and tactical placemaking in collaboration with the Safer Nairobi Initiative, Nairobi City County Government, the Technical University of Kenya’s Centre for Creative and Cultural Industries, UN-Habitat and the Architectural Association of Kenya among other partners. Over a period of twelve months, the team led by Mark Ojal carried out different types of mutually reinforcing activities in and around Luthuli Avenue in Nairobi. Luthuli Avenue is found in the heart of the city and is known for being a polluted, congested and contested space between pedestrians, vendors, matatus, trolley pushers and motorbike riders.  Each activity represents an innovative way to engage hard-to-reach demographic groups who use the street, such as physical 3D on-location participatory mapping, installing temporary street experiments through painting and a photography hangout to capture the diverse meanings that people assert to the street.

The i-CMiiST project became part of Nairobi City County Government’s walkability and bikeability policy. The city is working with C40 to promote walking and cycling as part of air quality action. As a result of this project and the efforts of our project partners, Luthuli Avenue is currently being permanently redesigned to create a more walkable, bikeable, safe, clean and inclusive street.


Project period: April 2018 – February 2019
Where: Luthuli Avenue, Nairobi

Client: Stockholm Environment Institute and the University of York
Collaborative partners: UN-Habitat, Nairobi City County Government, Safer Nairobi Initiative, Architectural Association of Kenya, Critical Mass Nairobi and the Technical University of Kenya.

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