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From Leafy Suburb to Concrete Jungle: Concerns Rise Over Nairobi’s Skyline

Nairobi City could soon see the emergence of skyscraper buildings if a proposed zoning framework receives approval from the Nairobi County Assembly.

Governor Johnson Sakaja announced on Sunday that tall buildings are slated for construction in areas like Eastleigh, Kileleshwa, and Lavington.

He further hinted at the possibility of even taller constructions in other parts of the city.

Sakaja clarified that the previous restriction of 25 floors, particularly around the airbase, was not a blanket limitation. He revealed, ‘We have proposed an area-specific zoning framework that allows for buildings up to 75 floors in certain areas. This proposal is currently under review by the assembly.’

The Governor emphasized that the County Government is prepared to make significant investments in sewer and water infrastructure to support the new city plan.

He stated, ‘Traffic management, healthcare, educational facilities, and provision of green spaces will be mandatory aspects of this framework.’

Sakaja also stressed that not all construction proposals will be approved; they must adhere to specific standards.

‘Various factors such as plot ratios, ground coverage, and the area’s character will be carefully considered,’ he explained. ‘We aim to promote responsible vertical expansion.’

Addressing concerns about the construction of high-rise buildings in Kileleshwa and Lavington, Sakaja noted that Nairobi’s inevitable expansion necessitates additional space to accommodate its growing population.

‘As Nairobi’s area is limited, with a projected population of 10.5 million by 2050, vertical expansion is the logical solution,’ he asserted. ‘Expanding Nairobi horizontally is not feasible.’

Sakaja mentioned that President William Ruto has endorsed the construction of high-rise buildings in the city, following the removal of long-standing restrictions. However, this move has faced criticism from residents, particularly in Kileleshwa, who lament the transformation of their once leafy suburb into a concrete jungle of high-rise apartment blocks.

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Previously classified as Zone Four by the Nairobi City Council, Kileleshwa had restrictions preventing the construction of buildings exceeding four floors.

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