Green Cities: The Case of Nairobi

Last June 5 to 10, 2014, Psychology Volunteers on Bikes External Relations Officer Monica Manluluyo attended the 2014 International Student Conference on Environment and Sustainability. The 6-day conference was held in Tongji University, Shanghai, China where experts on environment, energy, urban development and economy discussed regional and global ecological civilization and green development in the new age together with participants around the world.

Mumbi Maria Wachira is a student at Strathmore University. She shared the case of Nairobi as a growing green city during the 2014 International Student Conference on Environment and Sustainability: Symposium on Energy Transition and Climate Change held last June 5, 2014 at Tongji University, Shanghai, China.


Nairobi is called “city in the sun”, and they are transitioning towards a green economy. The UNEP and UN-HABITAT Headquarters housed in Strathmore University are examples of Nairobi’s green buildings. The criteria behind this transition are livability, economic security (green jobs) and environmental preservation.

Within the country, there are five spatial areas that need improvement: land use, water, the environment, energy and sustainability. These areas are the ones addressed by Nairobi in their Metro 2030 Development Strategy. However, there are certain challenges to this program. First, poverty levels are high and there are heightened levels of insecurity coupled with inadequate access to medical services. There is also poor service quality within the country that results to large numbers of illegally and poorly constructed buildings as a consequence of a weak control system. Extreme pressure on base resources, physical water scarcity and poor transport networks also pose a problem in Nairobi.


Most of Nairobi has always relied on hydroelectric sources, and in the 2030 Strategy, the government is leaning towards a commitment on renewable sources of energy such as wind, solar and geothermal. The Integrated Waste Management Programme is also looking into using solid waste as a potential source of renewable energy as the use of biogas is already popular with the agricultural sector.