Download the 2011 Workshop Summary

Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Date: 2011
Programme: Change by Design
Project partners: Pamoja Trust, Housing Policy section of UN-Habitat
Activities: Learning and Capacity Building
Team: Matthew French, Isis Nunez Ferrera, Naomi Shinkins, Alex Apsan Frediani

Informal settlements are a growing global concern, a challenge many developing countries are facing. In Nairobi, Kenya, millions of people live in inadequate dwellings with little or no tenure security, exacerbating their poverty and socio-political marginality. While slum upgrading programmes exist in Kenya to improve social, economic and environmental conditions, there is currently little to no opportunity for community participation. This restricts how effective the programmes are and how well they are received by the slum dwellers. 

The ASF-UK workshop in Kenya aimed to address how slum residents can be meaningfully involved in slum upgrading, rather than as beneficiaries of top down projects. Participatory development could respond more effectively to the community needs and reduce their socio-economic vulnerability. The workshop highlighted the importance of community participation at dwelling, neighbourhood and institutional scales to target individual and collectives needs. Overall, the aim was to develop a slum upgrading plan and to support Pamoja Trust’s capacity to use participatory design. The first week of the workshop encouraged slum dwellers to visualise how their community could be through various fieldwork tools, modelling and drawing, involving a range of residents. A ‘Portfolio of Options’ was developed to provide a range of upgrading options (housing types, community spaces, etc). 

A symposium was held by UN-Habitat to engage local stakeholders and encourage networking beyond the targeted settlement. This was attended by over 120 people, including local and international practitioners, students and academics. The symposium aimed to explain the context for slum upgrading programmes, network between various stakeholders and create interest in the workshop.


2 week workshop – 22 international participants (including students and practitioners), 25 local participants, 15 key residents and 3 workshop coordinators

“This experience has been good for me. I have learnt it is okay to dream.” Waimatha, a resident

Read the full report here:

Architecture Sans Frontières UK is registered in England and Wales under charity number 1123786.
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