What If Nairobi – The Public Park – Proposal for Central Park...

What If Nairobi – The Public Park – Proposal for Central Park Nairobi


By Karuga Koinange

Public Park
Site Layout

By definition a public park is a protected area, in its natural or semi-natural state, or planted, and set aside for human [public] recreation and enjoyment, or for the protection of wildlife or natural habitats. Individual and family benefits identified by users of parks and recreation services include personal, social, activity, environmental and economic benefits more specifically these benefits range from keeping fit too international/local tourism.

public park
Layout Plan

In urban centers such as Nairobi, these shared spaces are scarce and mostly date back to the colonial era. In fact no single public park has been established in over five decades which sets a stark comparison to ever growing private real-estate sector.

Some long standing examples of urban public park in Nairobi include Uhuru Park, City Park, Jevanjee Gardens and Arboretum Forest.

Given the limited yet diverse nature of these urban recreational spaces our proposition decided to focus on one in particular, City Park located along Uhuru Highway. WHAT IF we make City Park more diverse and inclusive?

public park

This concept design reacts on the urban circumstances of the two very different sides of the public park. One is very dense and filled with high rise buildings, while the other side seems to be a smaller fabric, less big buildings and less urban.

The design tries to interweave these two different “worlds” and creates a zone in between. The impulse of the city sides create an interweaving border situation which reaches out into the middle of the public park. These impacts are filled with different cultural programs creating a programmatic landscape within the city. The water holes give orientation and can also be filled with other ideas (Playground, Skate Park, amphitheater, Art Pavilion, Toilets and so on)!

public park

On reflection one might say we are proposing to rejuvenate/reaffirm the importance of our shared spaces in order improve our wellbeing and sense of community. In order to achieve this, inclusivity and diversity should underpin the way we design and manage our shared spaces.

Public park are invaluable public assets that hold enormous socioeconomic potential that should be harnessed for generations to come. In achieving this, all Nairobians from all walks of life stand to gain from our parks in the sun.

public park


  1. What about incorporating architecture, which also can be used by urban citizens? We builded the first skateboarding park in Kenya (www.facebook.com/skateparknairobi ) and we would love to help you guys to really build a public park maybe inside your project. Did u ever consider, that the art you will be builded, also could be used for urban activities? Greetings

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