Public Space Network collects data and citizen priorities on urban life improvements for better health and public space management.
Nairobi, like most of rapidly urbanizing cities, lacks quality public spaces. Pedestrians are subjected to countless dangers during their everyday commute and children have no clean and safe outdoor space to play. Neglected and abused public spaces lead to pollution and insecurity, resulting in health issues, negatively affecting businesses in the area and overall worsening the well-being of all citizens. Urban poor, children, girls and women are among the most vulnerable groups affected by the insecurity in the spaces.
To ensure a sustainable management of public spaces, citizens need to take ownership for these spaces and take lead in their management. Our organization has been mobilizing Nairobians to become “CityShapers” who design their urban environment according to their needs. We aim to advocate for a policy framework that would provide an enabling environment for such citizen-driven public space management, with public authorities, private sector and academia providing diverse resources to support citizens in their efforts. To achieve this, we are developing a solid database supporting the positive impact of such interventions on users’ well-being.
We are also refining a tool that will allow us to collect feedback directly from the users of the space across Nairobi and beyond. In addition to an offline version, there will also be a mobile application that would accelerate the collection of data and enable any citizen to participate. Using this tool, we could collect data from both transformed and not-transformed spaces to inform future public spaces interventions.