The Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI) in Nairobi is a collective of architects, urban planners and engineers working with residents in impoverished communities in Kenya and beyond to develop sustainable, low-cost design solutions to unique environmental challenges.
Since 2006, the group has successfully carried out 7 “Productive Public Space” projects in Kibera, the largest informal settlement in Nairobi, by reclaiming dumping sites and other under-used land areas in the community.
KDI’s newest public space project will be a ‘model’ household and social resilience center where people from the community will learn how to become better prepared in the face of flooding, during the region’s rainy season.
The KDI team has these 10 suggestions for those who would benefit from setting up a ‘Flood Hub’ in their community.
- Use locally sourced, low-cost materials like stone, wood, mud and dry grass
- Use landscape-driven solutions to make a great aesthetic and be eco-friendly
- Be all about inclusion – a hub should be designed and operated by the community
- Help foster local preparedness through community awareness campaigns and flood management committees. Create early-warning systems and access to open data for flood risk maps and graphics.
- Set the standard for building “smarter” infrastructure in informal settlements
- Be a place where people can come together for constructive discussion and fun
- Give local craftsmen an opportunity to grow their skills and their businesses
- Help reduce the risk of contracting water-borne diseases by building structural adaptation measures in and around the hub
- Use mobile devices to help track improvements to the community’s flood prevention infrastructure
- Make it easy to replicate your hub in settlements facing similar challenges