18 Aug

An innovation consultant in Kenya has come up with a formula to make Kenyan towns properly designed and livable.

The specialist currently attached at UNICEF as a design and innovation lead is recommending that it is time all stakeholders in the planning and construction sector in Kenya consider making human settlements very much of a “habitat” for Kenyans.

His advice comes in the wake of a revelation that in Nairobi alone, 60 per cent of the population lives in informal settlements.

This robs children and youth of reaching their full potential, and the economy of having a well-educated and healthy urban population,” says Rene Dierkx, an award-winning architect and urban planner with a specialty in planning and designing user-friendly and environmentally sustainable schools and human settlements.

That is why all planning, design and building should heal the planet ailing from the effects of climate change,” he notes.

And according to Dr Dierkx, there are up to ten elements that make a town and city fit to live in.

In brief, the 10 Cs of Living City making are: climate, culture, context, community, construction, costs, content, compactness, connectivity as well as communication,” he points out.

Yet to go about the whole process successfully, the former senior consultant on school planning, design and construction at the World Bank says that ‘Human Centered Design’ has also to be factored in.

Human Centered Design (HCD) is basically looking at problems from the perspective of the people affected by the same,” says Stuart Campo, senior Innovation Deployment Specialist with UNICEF’s Global Innovation Center.

With the HCD approach, we ask up to three key questions about the product: Is it desirable, viable and feasible?”

Meanwhile, he says the whole product design process begins with the mindsets of creative confidence, empathy among others, together with the methods of inspiration, ideation and implementation.

For example, at the Inspiration stage, while learning from a person, the designer has to make sure that they understand the whole person and their context,” explains Campo.