Security update as at 25th September 2013
As I write this update on the security situation in Karengata the tragic events at Westgate mall are reaching the climax, after a 4 day siege the final death toll and casualty figures are not yet clear. Our condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to all affected by this tragedy.
Some might say that it overshadows recent security incidents in Karengata, however this is not so for the families and victims of those who were affected by the attacks.
The unusual number of security incidents over the past two months have led to a review of security by several Residents Associations with plans to increase physical security with the construction of walls and barriers at several estates (Regulations for such construction have been circulated and are available at the KLDA office). The police at Karen and Hardy and private security providers have increased patrols and reinforced security.
A number of security alerts have been circulated by KLDA with contacts numbers of KLDA officials and senior police officers. It is imperative that all security incidents are reported when they occur, not days or weeks after the incidents.
Common sense tips have also been circulated by the security providers and KLDA . These are summarized below and should also be followed by all.
A few precautionary tips:
Ø Call the guards before you get home and inform them of your imminent arrival
Ø Ask them to look outside for any unfamiliar people
Ø Request the askaris to open the gate before you reach your destination to avoid any delays outside the gate
Ø Cutting back foliage alongside gates wherever possible in order to minimise cover for robbers to hide in, meaning they have further to run in order to attempt to force a gate (giving the askari longer to get the gate shut & take cover)
Ø Improving lighting of driveways and outside gates. Lights should be re-oriented to illuminate the approach to the gate, rather than the car passengers (this also serves to dazzle passengers)
Security barriers application procedure
Lt Col (Rtd) Clive Lee, KLDA Security Volunteer Chairman –Karen Security Trust.
KAREN WE WANT
By Henry Musangi – Associate Director at Planning Systems Services Ltd
How Should Karen Langata Grow?
A few months ago, the Karen Langata District Association and Karen We Want team came to Planning House to visit us. We learnt from them what anyone could easily observe: that the Karen Langata area of Nairobi is growing and developing very fast and in many instances not in keeping with the district’s Local Physical Development Plan[LPDP]. On the basis of PLANNING’s track record in developing quality urban and land use intervention schemes, as well as our specific building designs, KLDA/KWW asked PLANNING to help in the development of a revamped and more effective PDP, to which PLANNING humbly obliged.
Over the past couple of months following that meeting, and led by KLDA, PLANNING has had the opportunity to be part of an extensive drive through and photographic survey of the various neighborhoods that form this historic edge of the city. What emerged from that survey was both good and bad news.
The good news was the fact that extensive portions of the Karen-Langata residential sector have maintained their character, scale and aura. However, the bad news was also evident in uncoordinated development, public transport routing and densification.
It is very apparent for PLANNING, as it is to the residents of Karen-Langata, that the area is undergoing a radical amplification; a growth of its populace, bulk, traffic volumes and commercial/institutional numbers. Against its traditional residential and farm land prevalence, KLDA had in the now expiring LPDP, recognized that development would come but it would have to be directed in a way that did not destroy nor overwhelm the neighbourhood’s heritage and aura. The current phenomenon is a by-product of over generalized re-zoning to mixed use ordinance without providing for specific (almost street by street) exceptions.
PLANNING and KLDA therefore agreed on a new three step strategy towards developing the new PDP, consisting of the following steps:
1. Preparation Stage, entailing an investigation, documentation and thorough understanding of the context, especially existing conditions. This stage would also involve the documentation of KLDA stakeholders’ aspirations for the area.
2. Design Stage, entailing the development of a graphic special masterplan that would illustrate proposals or aspirations for development and preservation of sub-neighbourhoods, streets, buildings, public spaces and landscape – and thus the overall character and quality of the district. PLANNING and KLDA noted that the expiring PDP did not adequately capture the aesthetic vision that Karen wishes to enjoy.
3. Implementation Stage, entailing the practical strategy to harness social, commercial, political and economic realities that would make the new PDP a continuing reality in the years to come.
PLANNING and KLDA have agreed that the new PDP will not be a handed down, but would be developed via a participatory effort that draws together the various stakeholders in Karen and the County, thus ensuring buy-in. We are currently advancing in the preparation stage and partially into the design stage. From our mapping sessions, each done over a large scale satellite photo of the area, PLANNING and KLDA have been able to map out three themes of the area, namely various STRENGHTHS, WEAKNESSES and OPPORTUNITIES.
The above exercise is bringing out the fact that the new PDP masterplan will have to, for example, address the need for quality and coordinated public transit routes and hubs. We also all realized that Karen-Langata has no quality public green spaces that offer opportunity for repose and recreation. The KLDA participants pointed out that planning for the development of those should be key as structuring elements including heritage sites.
We also noted the planned expansion of Ngong and Langata Roads, and with that prospect the need to develop a proposal for the designed standards that these roads would adopt at the lengths they bisect the neighbourhood. Without applying a neighbourhood standard to expanded highways, Karen-Langata risks being divided into three almost disconnected portions walled apart by speeding vehicles. It was further envisioned that the masterplan should address “gateways” to the area from Ngong and Langata road sides.
PLANNING and KLDA will in the coming days conduct more participatory mapping exercises that seek to highlight the predominant non-residential building types, their locations and bulk. This will give us a good illustration of the character of those spots, the potential trends and opportunities as well as what might be driving them. We look forward to the continued and widest input possible from all Karen-Langata stakeholders.
As an early start to the Implementation stage, KLDA and PLANNING are coordinating this effort with the county government, including the Governor’s office and the County Planning Department. To make the new PDP masterplan the primary guide for all future development in the area, PLANNING will also harmonize this effort with the Nairobi Integrated Masterplan development currently being spearheaded by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency and the County Planning Department.