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Urban Planning and Informal Settlements
in Nairobi, Kenya is a global development podcast by The Guardian. John Vidal, Vivienne
Perry, and Claire Provost are the political journalists who discuss key issues
in Nairobi through interviewing Wallace Bondi, Wrath Tats, David Satiswait, and
Francis Kachuwi. All four interviewees are all professionals and/or have direct
experiences with urban planning and global development which gives an insight into
Nairobi`s urbanization challenges.

The podcast first looks at how space is limited due to
the repercussions of not having proper urban planning in Nairobi. More than
half of Nairobi`s population lives in informal settlements because of low
income (Vidal et al., 2012). This
makes it difficult for them to be mobile when high rent and housing costs are
present (Vidal et al., 2012). Due to the
lack of urban planning and the lack of implemented laws and regulations, class segregation continues
to increase which has led to eviction for railway development, increase in
poverty, and lack of proper housing. The podcast also looks at how much Nairobi
depends on the private sector for its growth. David Satiswait, a part of the international
institute of the environment and development, suggests private sectors, who
have a lot of power right now in Kenya`s urban development sector, give
opportunities to grass root organizations in order for urban slum dwellers to
get attention (Vidal et al., 2012).

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Lastly, if urbanization was to be improved, climate change
could also be addressed. In relation to urban planning, intense climate
disasters occur in Kenya (e.g. floods and droughts) which mostly impacts low-income
areas and informal settlement areas (Vidal et
al., 2012). Therefore, planning towards resilience for these situations are
significant. Solutions are discussed from all interviewees who come toward a
common answer of the significance of civil society involvement and proper urban
planning from the local government that not only benefits individuals living in
informal settlements but also improve economic value (Vidal et al., 2012).  

Analysis & Evaluation

In Urban Planning
and Informal Settlements in Nairobi, Kenya podcast, I realized that it was published in September of 2012. This time
frame is primarily when presidential elections occur in Kenya therefore,
the information seems to be even more significant for not only citizens but
also presidential candidates. This means that although the podcast can be heard
by everyone based on The Guardian being the publishers and the simplicity of
the language, Kenyan citizens seem to be the direct audience. The podcasts main
focus is Nairobi and its economy, where the interviewers ask plenty of specific
and rhetorical questions that are directed towards economic growth in Kenya and
towards those living there.

The interviewers use different
techniques to persuade readers that the government of Nairobi is the main to blame
for the lack of urban planning. Although they are a huge factor in the problem,
they are not the only ones). The situation needs to be looked at as a whole, as
intersectionality (this is discussed in the next paragraph. For example, the majority
of the questions that the interviewees and the audience were asked were geared
towards “what’s the problem?” and “who is to blame?”. An important technique
used was that the interviewees, especially David Satiswait, used comparison
examples of countries and cities that upgraded their situation and are now in
better conditions (e.g. of some cities mentioned: Manchester, Namibia, Malawi).
This gives listeners hope and appeals to their emotions in order to get the
argument across.

Concepts Not Mentioned

To reference my own experience, my family is Kenyan and
although I was born in Canada, I lived in Kenya for ten years of my life. This
podcast did not touch on a lot of major geographic history in Nairobi that I
learned has presently impacted the city. For example, an important concept that
should have been discussed is how Nairobi was restructured and developed by
British colonials due to its central location and resources. It was very useful
for settler colonials to gain economic, social, political, and cultural power through
having control of that area. Therefore, like most other settler colonial states,
when the colonials left and Kenya got its independence, a lot of geographic systems
were fractured and never fixed which has contributed to poverty, corruption,
lack of resources, lack of set laws and policies, and much more. Another
significant argument that was not included in the podcast is where the capital
investments are actually going. When I was in Nairobi, the more formal and
resourceful settlements are in tourist and metropolitan areas, thus many
citizens do not benefit from these infrastructure developments but instead
majority of European tourists and global businesses get the full advantage. 

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