Konza (2010-2030) is a planned city with a target population of 250,000 inhabitants, to be constructed 60km away from Nairobi. It is a flagship project of the Kenyan government’ s “Vision 2030”, a long-term economic development plan for transforming Kenya into a newly industrializing, middle-income country that will provide high quality of life to all its citizens in a clean and secure environment. In this context, Konza’ s mission is to improve the quality of life for Kenyans by transforming employment markets, enhancing social infrastructure and securing good governance. In promotional material, Konza is being dubbed as the ‘˜African silicon savannah’ . The new city’ s development strategy focuses on four economic sectors that will advance technology growth in Kenya: education, life sciences, telecom and Information Technology Outsourcing and Business Process Outsourcing. The masterplan, prepared by ShoP Architects, is based on the concept of high-tech ribbons of development and encompasses sustainable urban design principles. In detail, the city will feature: (a) a Central Business District, (b) a university campus with a capacity of 1,500 students, (c) a residential community of 185,000 people and (d) parks and wildlife. Konza’ s basic design principles include open and walkable spaces, fast but low cost public transport, mixed-uses, and high environmental standards. The new city’ s business plan and physical development plan have been completed and Kenyan Government sources report that Konza’ s development is well underway. In facts, however, the site is currently empty for the most part, with the exception of some basic infrastructure developments. It is reported that the advancement of the project has been hindered by bureaucratic problems. Concerns have also been expressed as to the societal consequences of Konza’ s development, hinting that it could enforce the area’ s already existing problems of social polarization and gentrification.
Figure: Phase 1 of KTC – rendering (source)
Access Konza Technology City’ s website here.
Suggested readings about Konza Technology City:
- Adeya, C., Munywoki, A. (2012). Konza Technocity, Kenya; Frequently asked questions. Available here.
- Nalika, P., Mbuvi, D. (2013). Tales of Konza City. Available here.
- Watson, V. (2013). African urban fantasies: dreams or nightmares? Environment and Urbanization, 6. doi: 10.1177/0956247813513705. Available here.