Typically, half of East African cities urban residents walk to work (60% Kampala daily commute trips are on foot) yet infrastructure provision for non-motorised transport remains mainly aspirational. Inclusion of vulnerable communities in the development of streetscape infrastructure to support their journeys is rare; but considering their livelihood and social interaction needs in planning is even less common. Addressing sustainable mobility for developing country cities is therefore a key urbanisation challenge.
Currently street space in E. African cities is preferentially allocated towards motorised transport. Rarely is dedicated space allocated to non-motorised transport (cycling) and walking nor consideration given to people with mobility limitations (elderly, disabled etc.). Even where space is allocated, boundaries are often violated placing all road users at risk. Additionally limited public realm street space is often re-appropriated for business activities further restricting safe mobility
Building upon a completed GCRF network grant (CMIIST) that explored with artists, practitioners, planners and policy makers the potential benefits of using more creative methods to co-design urban infrastructure to enhance mobility, the project compares the outcomes of deploying such approaches on: inclusion; co-benefits including unexpected improvised opportunities; and outcomes – with current standard planning practices. It also evaluates the longer term learning legacy encouraged by this interdisciplinary action research on key decision makers to assess if belief changes have occurred.
This project will focus upon the key issue of safe, sustainable streetscapes aiming to co-design schemes that would re-balance priorities between motorised and sustainable transport modes. It will identify interactions of people, urban infrastructure design and their behaviours in these spaces.
This critical focus will identify potential unintended consequences of change – both positive and negative – caused by unexpected behaviours linking to concepts of improvisations where users identify alternative opportunities presented by infrastructure.
Linking to key network partners (including. UN Environment & UN-Habitat; Makerere University University in Kampala, Uganda) our project will undertake case-control studies in Nairobi and Kampala on streetscape redesign schemes intended to rebalance urban mobility.
The project will employ our CM toolkit to co-design viable case study options of remodelled infrastructure promoting sustainable modes, increase vulnerable user’s safety and enhance the business vibrancy. Relevant methods identified to focus upon will include:
• Uncovering hidden narratives
• Promoting inclusive co-design
• Encouraging social & cultural innovation supporting development
The project is funded by the British Academy under its ‘Cities and Infrastructure’ fund.
The project commenced in December 2017 and runs until the end of 2018.
Find out more about the Creative Methods toolbox