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Must Seed

Placemaking Design Strategie 3
*selected for implementation

Dandora is very well known all over Kenya; it is the biggest dump site of Africa where thousands of people select trash in very bad, unsafe, unhealthy and smelly conditions. The well-planned neighborhood has been slid down and became an informal settlement which suffers from the bad reputation of he dump site. For this team the questions were: How can Mustard Seeds Organization upscale the youth groups competition to improve the court yards? What are possibilities for linkages among these court yards that could - collectively - transform the reputation of some less popular neighborhoods? 

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Mustard Seeds CBO is a small organization that has existed since 2013. Last year they launched the ‘Changing Faces - Changing Minds Competition’. For this Lab,the team developed the project ‘Must Seed’: a strategy for gradually scaling up the model of Mustard Seeds Courtyard in Dandora. The strategy explores ways to develop this method of using competition to motivate change, creating enthusiasm along the way. They encourage to come up with initiatives for local youth to clean up and beautify their surroundings, starting with the courtyards where they live. The winning team receives a prize of 100,000 KSh (approx. $1000).

“If you change Dandora you change Nairobi. If you change Nairobi, you change Kenya.” 

The courtyards are not only a physical space - they are also a model structure, a way of organizing the local community in manageable units. Through the Changing Faces challenge, the courtyards have taken on a role as social catalysts, where different groups in the neighborhood have different interests and different parts to play in the use and maintenance of the space: kids play, teenagers and adults can find jobs doing maintenance, as court guards, or even set up small businesses inside the courtyards. 

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Must Seed is developed as a step-by-step strategy to scale up from the courtyards to the streets to eventually the whole neighborhood of Dandora with the leave-way, the dumpsite, the abandoned factory area nearby and the Dandora train station area as bigger opportunities for development further into the future. Ultimately, the strategy could be a city wide or even nation wide way to tackle the use and management of public spaces. As Charles Gachanga, CEO of Mustard Seeds would say: “If you change Dandora you change Nairobi. If you change Nairobi, you change Kenya.” 
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Design team: Mustard Seeds, Land + Civilization Compositions, Cave, Avanti Architecture, Citilinks and Rodeo Architects.
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