A common planning trend with old, contemporary and growing urban areas across the world is the setting out of the green spaces. The green spaces or ‘open spaces’ as are commonly referred play a big role in maintaining the social, cultural/ heritage and political value in the urban spaces.
In addition, these spaces contribute greatly to the aesthetics. Within most urban areas you will find private or public owned parks, ranging from public parks to privately owned parks/ gardens within neighbourhood.
Nairobi city is known for the parks in and around the CBD. The parks which include Uhuru Park, Central park, City Park, Arboretum Park, Jevanjee gardens among others continue to breathe fresh air to the rapidly growing city. These parks serve various purposes such as hosting religious and political gatherings and recreation.
The Jevanjee garden located within the CBD is an invaluable asset to the people working nearby whomfrequent the park to relax mostly during lunch hour breaks. The park has and continues to host historical political and religious rallies, cultural and social events. The park is managed by the Nairobi City County and a little known group of well-wishers known as ‘Friends of Jevanjee’. A survey in the park shows that it is busiest during weekdays as most of the users are people working nearby who visit the park on working days. These people prefer Jevanjee to other parks due to its location near their work places.
The people however feel unsafe in the park mostly attributed to the many idlers and inward looking design with high fence around it. The park is well known for having numerous preachers who are at all times shouting in the park. The preachers are loved and hated in equal measure; some people enjoy the sermons while others take them as a nuisance. Given a chance to change an element in the park, users suggest the introduction of water points, regulation of the preachers, provision of street lighting, design change to make it outward looking and the improvement of the pebbled walk paths that are uncomfortable walking on.
By Kevin Ritho (University of Nairobi, Urban and Regional Planning Student)