Re-ordering the Urban Archipelago: Kenya Vision 2030, street trade and the battle for Nairobi city center

Denis Linehan


The urban morphology and social and economic topography of Nairobi is sharply distinguished, heavily fortified and distinctively regulated. This form of urban territorial organization is an outcome of the legacies of colonialism and deeply inequitable local practices which continue to inforce Nairobi's relationship to the foreign investor and the tourist rather than support the rights of the urban inhabitant. The accelerating impact of neo-liberal economic planning continues to worsen these urban inequalities. In this context, this paper explores the influence of Kenya Vision 2030 on the restructuring of Nairobi and assesses its implication for street vendors, who have been increasingly displaced from trading in the City Center. Their future and the attempts to re-order Nairobi city center has emerged as a key site were debates over the global and local versions of the city and the contest between different developmental futures are acted out.


Kenya 2030; Nairobi; Neo-liberalism; Informal sector; Hawking; Public space.

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