- Planning and Designing Flexible Use of Public Spaces for Improved Livelihoods in Urban Areas    click here to open paper content465 kb
by    Musyoka, Rose & Ngau, Peter & Mwango, Franklin | rmusyoka@hotmail.com   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
Urban public spaces can be innovatively designed and utilised to provide secure livelihoods.
As urban centres/economies have become more complex, with ever-growing populations against a backdrop of high poverty levels, limited means of livelihoods for urban residents and an ever shrinking urban land against many competing uses, there has been a shift in the modern cities from rigid utilisation of space to a more flexible and innovative use of available spaces. This new approach is evident in world cities such as New York, where Broadway, one of the biggest streets is occasionally closed for a farmersí market while in London some streets are closed for periodic markets and eateries are common on major streets especially along pedestrian walkways. Although street trading is popular in cities of the developing world, it often not recognized due to unclear policy. This activity has numerous names all of which imply seeking livelihoods on the street. Street trading provides livelihoods to millions of city residents, but in spite of this it remains a forgotten economy.

There exists competing claims for public space but the poor do not seem to have a voice in negotiating its use. Public spaces have many functions, but few modern-day urban management policies recognise the economic importance of urban public space to the poor. In response to economic hardships and poverty reduction many governments in developing countries have embraced innovative utilisation of urban public spaces, which includes micro-enterprise development most of which takes place on contested spaces. This paper is based on a study by the Urban Innovation Group of the University of Nairobi, focusing on the new thinking in planning that allows flexibility in utilisation of urban public spaces for more secure livelihoods.

Keywords: Planning, order, flexible, urban public spaces, livelihoods, Kenya
Planning, order, flexible, urban public spaces, livelihoods
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