The planning for Mabatini Informal Settlement was initiated in 2008 as a response to the community’s request for a planning undertaking to help in the appeal for, and approval of, a Part Development Plan (PDP) by the Minister in charge of lands, through the City Council of Nairobi. The purpose of the PDP would be to justify the alienation and allocation of land to the community of Mabatini estimated at 400 households, who at the time of preparation of this plan occupied the land without security of tenure. It was a requirement that such an application be accompanied by an indication of how the land in question would be organized and used, hence this settlement upgrading advisory plan. Preparation of the plan was participatory in nature and saw the convergence of the community, regulatory institutions, civil society, and the university working in collaboration anchored on three key principles, namely, negotiated and participatory city building process; bridging the urban divide and safeguarding the right to the city; and capacity building. Peer exchanges and reviews also helped in the search and appreciation of emerging best practices. This plan is a culmination of four years of such broad-based collaborative work.
The study utilized a broad spectrum of data from various sources; secondary data was largely from review of key policy provisions as enshrined in relevant documents such as The UN Millennium Development Goals, Kenya Vision 2030, The Constitution of Kenya, Sessional Paper No. 3 of 2009 on National Land Policy, and Sessional Paper No. 3, July 2004 on National Housing Policy. There was also review of relevant upgrading projects such as the Kenya Slum Upgrading Program (KENSUP) and Kenya Informal Settlement Improvement Project (KISIP). Primary data was collected directly from the field using various techniques such as site inventories, enumerations, mapping, and focus group discussions. The main analytical areas articulated in this plan included population and socio-economic characteristics; ownership and tenure status; physical & environmental characteristics; land use; infrastructure and utility services; and community facilities and social living.The analytical and prescriptive stages of this work entailed a series of studio work sessions and community planning forums that culminated in a multi-stakeholder workshop, where the final design was discussed and endorsed with minor modifications.