School of the Built Environment


    Axes of Difference between Modernity and Urban Informality in Settlements Upgrading - A Case of Nairobi, Kenya 

    Completed his PhD in 2016.


    • BA in Architecture
    • MA in Planning


    • Dr Beacon Mbiba
    • Dr Sue Brownill

    His research aims at examining the impacts of the difference between the ideals of modernity and the realities of urban informality. The research seeks to employ the lens of difference to examine the phenomenon through the prism of settlements upgrading. It seeks to examine two main interrelated axes of difference which manifest themselves in urban transformation processes in post-colonial cities confronted by diverse urban informalities. The empirical focus is on the Sub-Saharan Africa city of Nairobi. The axis of difference between the dichotomous built forms in informal settlements and in upgrading programmes spatially reveals a gap between the hegemonic assumptions and rationalities of Western urbanism adopted by planning interventionists and the rationalities of planned-for urban poor communities. The research aims at bridging this gap by endeavouring to identify a suitable methodological approach of mediating these interrelated axes of difference. The methodological approach will better inform policy and practice in settlements upgrading particularly in the context of delivering culturally specific built forms.

    He graduated with a Master of Arts degree in Planning (distinction) in 2002 and earlier with a Bachelor of Architecture degree (Upper 2nd Class Honours) in 1993 from the University of Nairobi. He has more than fifteen years post-qualification experience as a practicing architect and town planner in Kenya.