Peter A. Makachia. Photo by Camilla Käck

Housing strategies in Kenya

Peter A. Makachia is a consultant and researcher in housing, urban development and building company based in Nairobi. He is Professor and Head of the Department of Architecture and Environmental Studies at Kenya Polytechnic University College in Nairobi and has extensive experience in working as an architect.

He is now in Uppsala and at NAI during the period October 1 to December 13. Previously he has been visiting NAI as a guest researcher in 2006. His research focuses on strategies for housing and human settlements in Africa with lessons from Kenya and is interested in housing as a development. He uses Kenya and the capital Nairobi as an example in his research.
­– Understanding Kenya can be useful to understand the rest of Africa. Kenya seems to have strategies for housing, but they don’t use them in terms of outcome, says Peter A. Makachia.

The main aim of his research stay will be to compile information that he has gathered over years of practice, research and teaching, into a textbook. The purpose of the book is that it will be used in higher-level and tertiary institutions where teaching and research on urban housing dynamics in African cities and other urban settlements is conducted, but also in other related disciplines and by decision makers.

Peter A. Makachia says that households could be used in a different way than just residences and that there are different values ​​in this . He believes that it is about seeing to different values; social values ​​related to privacy and how the household change in different stages of life and economic values ​​regarding to how the house can be used to provide an additional income , by having the opportunity to run a business from home or to rent out a room , for example to a student when the kids have left home. He believes that the houses should be more flexible and be easy to share as required.

– There is a gap between the strategies for   households and the users priorities, says Peter A. Makachia, and argues that the most important thing is to ensure the needs of the users.

The research has mainly occurred through observations and interviews with people in their homes and through the study of rules and guidelines. The main question that has been raised has been how people use their homes.

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