Making Cities Together

    Improving public spaces in Nairobi




    Featured on Arch Daily!


    How can one public space transform an entire neighbourhood? 

  • Videos on Making Cities Together!

    Urban Thinkers Campus

    2017 | on public spaces and participation

    The UTC is an initiative of UN-Habitat’s World Urban Campaign, an open space for critical exchange, promoting sustainable urbanization. Click here!


    2017 | Upcycle community

    Waste to Worth: waste up-cycling into bricks for colourful streets and green jobs in Nairobi. [till June 2017] Click here!

    Floating Zebra

    2017 | Community street design

    This video is made by our partners CAVE, Nairobi-based architects connecting African origins to contemporary architecture and art.



    2015 | Minecraft design workshop with the dandora community

    Building Public Spaces - Minecraft Workshop in Dandora. Local youth who are repurposing courtyards in Dandora are being trained in using Minecraft to help develop their dreams into reality. 


    2015 | Placemaking Design Lab

    International and local design teams in collaboration with local initiatives designed 3 public spaces strategies in Nairobi.

  • Fast growing cities, like Nairobi, face serious challenges in developing into an inclusive and prosperous environment. The Making Cities Together project aims to develop a sustainable, viable and long-term agenda for Nairobi’s public spaces as an entry point to urban development.

    The project started in 2014 with the Nairobi placemaking inventory. In May 2015, the Placemaking Design Lab took place to develop new strategies for public spaces in the City centre, Dandora and Korogocho. The 'Must Seed' strategy in Dandora was selected for implementation.


    The Model Street, a 'place to be' in Dandora with the Dandora Transformation League which was finished in 14 April 2018. This inspiring showcase of a well designed and used public space and other cases, tools and strategies we are sharing on our platform and at many conferences and is top 10 finalist for the World Habitat Awards.



    #1a Placemaking inventory

    #1b Location research

    #2a Placemaking Design Lab

    #2b Placemaking Design Intervention

    #2b Minecraft Community Design

    #3 Building Party!

    #4a Knowledge sharing

    #4b Platform

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    Placemaking Inventory


    The inventory identified 17 socio-spatial initiatives across the city. The initiatives result into a higher quality of life and impact livelihoods, still they continue to face challenges including inadequate funding, land ownership, community engagement, expertise and politics.


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    Location Research

    The use and physical aspects of public spaces were research at 6 of the initiatives in the city centre, neighbourhoods and informal settelements.

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    Placemaking Design Lab

    3 New Placemaking Design Strategies were developed by international and local design teams in collaboration with local initiatives. In a public presentation at Naipolitans' platform in Memorial Park the strategies were shared and discussed.

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    Placemaking Design Strategy

    In Dandora the first step towards the 'Must Seed' strategy will be implemented: a model street to show an example of a well designed and used public space.

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    Minecraft Community Design

    Together with the community we created design ideas for the model street in dandora through the computer game tool 'minecraft' in collaboration with UN-Habitat.

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    Building Party!

    Together with Dandora transformation league we are implementing a model street in neighbourhood in Nairobi, Dandora. based on the strategy from the lab and the minecraft community workshop we are planting trees, painting the facades, placing bins and constructing welcoming gateways.

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    Knowledge sharing 

    - Exhibition at N-Aerus 15th conference, Brussels, NOV 2014,

    - Public debate Naipolitans, Nairobi, NOV 2014.
    - Exhibition at Prepcom2 & GC25, Nairobi APR 2015.

    - PUblic space biennalE, Rome, May 2015

    -IFHP Summit, BERLIN, Nov 2015


    - PLACEMAKING WEEK Nairobi, DEC 2016,

    - UTC, Nairobi, 3-4 May 2017

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    To create sustainable public spaces, drivers for a better city, we collaborate with stakeholders: local initiatives, government, private sector, academia, NGO's, bilateral organisations and above all citizens. Join us!

  • 3 Placemaking Design Strategiesfor court yards, a street and a park in Nairobi

    July 22, 2015
    July 22, 2015
    July 21, 2015
  • MUST SEED...

    ...is developed as a step-by-step Placemaking strategy to scale up from the successfully improved court yards to the streets to eventually the whole neighborhood of Dandora.
    Making Cities Together selected this strategy is to implement, which will be a benchmark for other neighborhoods in Nairobi and other cities in Kenya.


    Currently, a Model Street is built together with a multi-stakeholder network of local communities, urban professionals, local authority, academia, private sector and the United Nations.


    See more...  

  • What is happening right now?

    Check out the update on facebook What happened recently?Placemaking week in Amsterdam Check out the websitePlacemaking week in NairobiCheck out on facebookShenzhen Biennale More news soon, for now check the website Top 10 finalist World Habitat Awards Check the website

    Featured on Arch Daily!

    How Can One Public Space Transform an Entire Neighborhood? UN-Habitat's Model Street Initiative

  • Join us! 

    Please like our Facebook page - Making Cities Together or fill in the form. 

  • Making Cities Together with...

    Project initiators, Organizers, Advisors, Community organisation and the Design Team.

    Thanks to the financial support of UN-Habitat, Nairobi City County, Stichting DOEN, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Rendeavour.

    And great thanks to the in-kind support of University of Nairobi, Technical University of Kenya, Naipolitans, Kounkuey Design Initiative, GoDownArtCentre, Placemaking Initiatives in Nairobi, Projects for Public spaces, Architects without Borders, Kilimani Project Foundation, Centre for Creative and Cultural Industries, Community Media House, Media Head Quarters, House of Manji, Wire products ltd., Village Market, Jotun, Anka consultants, Gamma Delta, Metrix Integrated and Hormigon Holdings.

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    Project initiator

    A world-wide network in the broad fields of housing, urban development and planning - Denmark

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    Project initiator

    Think and do tank for young cities - The Netherlands

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    Project initiator / local organiser

    Placemaking, Research and design Studio - The Netherlands


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    Project advisor

    Works in urban planning issues facing Kenya & initiating a students network that closes the gap between education and reality - Kenya

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    Community based organisation

    Dandora Transformation League: impacting low income urban communities based in Dandora to live a life of health, security, dignity and well-being - Kenya

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    Local design team

    Design bureau, creative services in architecture, interior and landscape - Kenya

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    International design team and crowd funding initiator

    Works and collaborates on issues related to built form, with a scope from research to design - The Netherlands

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    Local design team

    Consultancy and design partnership dedicated to urbanism, architecture, urban transport and research with a holistic and visionary approach - Kenya


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    Rodeo Architects

    International design team

    Interdisciplinary architectural practice that has established itself in the overlap between design, strategy, and research - Norway

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    Avanti Architecture

    Local design team

    International design studio operating within the fields of architecture, urbanism, research and development. AVANTI’s architecture emerges out of a careful analysis of how contemporary life constantly evolves and changes - Kenya

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    Project partner

    Dutch Alliance for Sustainable Urban Development in Africa - The Netherlands

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    Supports committed entrepeneurs with sustainable, cultural and socially-engaged initiatives towards a green, socially-inclusive and creative society. DOEN offers these people financial support and brings them together to connect them - The Netherlands

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    Together we organised a community Minecraft workshop. The created designs are being implemented with support of UN-Habitat.

  • Making Cities Together documents & links

    Public spaces are the drivers in urban development in Nairobi & world wide.

    Download now!

    UrbanThinkers Campus report

    International New Town Institute, UN-Habitat, Project for Public Spaces, Placemakers, Architects without Borders, KUWA

    Dandora Transformation League, KUWA, International New Town Institute, DOEN, UN-Habitat and Placemakers

    The Inventory was conducted in collaboration with the Technical University of Kenya and was exhibited at the N-Aerus 15th International Conference in Brussels, 27-29 November 2014. "Real Change?, exploring and assessing ways to co-produce knowledge for tangible transformations in the cities of the South."

    Social and spatial research of a selection of the public spaces was done by interdisciplinary teams of sociologists, urban designers, planners and architects of the University of Nairobi, Centre for Urban Research and Innovations.

    Presentation of the upscaling strategy Must Seed in the neighborhood Dandora. 

    Design team: Mustard Seeds, Citilinks, Avanti Architecture, Land + Civilization Compositions and Rodeo Architects.

    Jeevanjee Gardens are in rehabilitation, here you will find the presentation of tactical urbanism: undesigning, trial and error, testing of strategy, participatory processes to make the city more responsive to its use. 
    Design team: Urban Codes, Cave, KUWA and METASITU. 

    Lab outcome: Korogocho's streets

    The final presentation of the Korogocho team: By involving not only youth but also women and elderly intensely use the streets it is possible to create a safer environment. Getting people out of their safe houses and shared alleyways is essential to create a successful public space.

    Design team: Hoperaisers, Cave, Paul Currion, Boogertman+Partners, Bantu Studio and Ma3Route.

    Placemaking Design Lab's process, participants and images. 

    Naivasha, Kenya, 17 June 2015 - Kenya’s Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development is conducting a series of consultation workshops with all the 47 county governments to validate the draft National Urban Development Policy (NUDP). UN-Habitat is supporting this process as part of its support to the Kenya Municipal Programme.

    The proposed Master Plan will integrate all the existing Master Plans of various infrastructures within the city of Nairobi and its surrounding. Infrastructure to be included is urban transport, railway, airport, power, water supply, sewerage, telecommunication and solid waste management.

    Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero and UN-Habitat Executive Director Joan Clos launched the Jeevanjee Gardens Public Space Project on 24 February 2014. This project is a component and demonstration activity of the larger “Nairobi Revitalizing Public Spaces” Project, a joint cooperation of the Nairobi City County and UN-Habitat.

    International Conference Forum Heading Habitat III.

    Central hub of the global Placemaking movement, connecting people to ideas, expertise, and partners who share a passion for creating vital places.