Providing a decent living environment for the urban poor in developing countries remains a complex undertaking of multifaceted nature; this is especially so where the concept of human settlement is viewed as both product and process. The situation is further complicated by lack of finance, access to land, security of tenure, and restrictive regulatory bottlenecks. Dwindling support for research in human settlements, especially housing for the poor has had a coupling effect to the indifference that interventions in this area have yielded. Together, these deficiencies seem to induce a vicious cycle; yet the situation can be improved significantly with the right attitude and commitment.
This report on Mukuru, undertaken by CURI in partnership with AMT, MuST, and Muungano wa Wanavijiji, adopted an investigative approach to expose, but also attempt to address, the problematic situation engendered by inaccessibility of land for housing the urban poor; insecurity of tenure; the disconnect between formal (government-led) and alternative approaches to settlement upgrading and housing delivery; and the failure to embrace a truly participatory approach in seeking appropriate solutions for sustainable urban planning and better livelihoods. The timeliness of this work cannot be overemphasized, Kenya being a signatory of numerous human rights based conventions in areas that include housing and water and sanitation. Key national policies in Kenya, including those touching on slum interventions have been aligned to key universal policies such as the Millennium Development Goals. AMT and partners remain committed to the plight of the inadequately housed urban communities living in the informal settlements, through research and innovative interventions. We believe that well-researched urban environments provide opportunities for fruitful intervention. This report is a means to that end. We commend its utilization by all those committed to the innovation and promotion of appropriate solutions for amelioration of the human settlement adversities facing the urban poor.