Nairobi has a valuable architectural fabric that is rich in cultural, architectural and religious significance enriched by foreign influences. Zoning is a planning control for the built environment that includes dividing land into sections, permitting land use on specific sites to shape the layout of towns and cities, enabling various types of development. In Nairobi, the zoning regulation has divided the city into 15 areas with a specific height of building building type allowed.


The increased demand for housing in Nairobi has prompted the county government to come up with innovative ways to meet the demand. The government enacted a policy that allows the construction of commercial centres and high rise apartments in upmarket neighborhoods. As a result, investors are increasingly purchasing old bungalows across the city and demolishing them to pave way for construction of apartments. 


The areas to be affected are Kileleshwa, Kilimani, Spring Valley, Riverside Drive, Thompson and Woodley. Bungalows that are affected are in estates such as Kasarani, Kahawa West and South B. In such areas empty plots are hard to come by. The Nairobi county government also plans to demolish its old bungalows in Ngong Road , Uhuru, Jevanjee, Old Ngara, Pangani estates and replace them with apartments in a bid to provide affordable housing units to the city residents. 


The widespread destruction of bungalows, many of which are occupied by the elderly means that the occupants have to find an alternative accommodation mostly on ground floors of new buildings. Over the past years, bungalows have symbolized a calm way of life especially for those individuals wanting to live without the trouble of climbing stairs. They have also provided easy access for individuals with walking difficulties and for persons on wheelchairs. High and mid-rises will be built in the place of old and decayed bungalows.


However, the rezoning plan has faced resistance from residents of the affected estates. According to Henry Ochieng’, Chief Executive of the Kenyan Alliance of Residents Association (Kara) , the zoning policy to allow multi-dwelling developments in low-density areas neighborhoods will not conclusively and sustainably address the problem. He added that there should be a more consultative approach that takes into consideration various aspects of development and planning that is suitable for the city. 


Furthermore, in Nairobi more than 70 percent of residential buildings in Nairobi are not compliant with the county government’s zoning policy on the number of floors. Anthony Karanja, Chairman of Nairobi County Assembly Planning, Housing and Lands committee said that only 25 percent of all city buildings adhere to the policy. Mr Karanja said that the committee will start the inspection of buildings in order to re-evaluate their approvals, the recommendations of demolition and regularisation of the buildings. The Nairobi rezoning policy review by City Hall has mainly been informed by the rising prices of land in the city.