During the period 2018-2022, the Kenya Government plans to commit a total of shillings 1 trillion funded by the middle and the high-class citizens through taxes, to be utilized towards the construction of 1 million low-cost housing for the poor. This translates to 200,000 units a year. The government’s focus is on its vulnerable citizenry.
The Private investor motivation is on prime developments that are low risk with predictable return on investment. An interview contacted in September 2018 indicated that over 80% of property buyers and tenants in middle and high-end category ranked security and safety as the top driver of demand in the property market.
Kenyans are incessantly bombarded with media exposure of muggings, home invasions, assassinations, and cold blood killings. A new defensive mindset is emerging, ‘that should never happen here”. As a consequence, Kenya’s property landscape has given rise to the gated community concept offering a panacea to these many anxieties. The government “Nyumba Kumi” initiative has augmented this phenomenon. The script is clear; security and safety are the most fundamental, most desirable considerations in planning property features.
The main features factored during the project planning phases; from project concept notes, feasibility studies, environmental Impact Assessment reports to Architectural designs include; electric fencing, alarm systems, sensors, security guardhouses, detailed grills, CCTV surveillance, and intercom system. In some cases, security surveys recommend bankers, fortified family assembly rooms, and other sophisticated arrangements. So far, great success has been achieved in this space.
New trends are, however, emerging; the center of gravity has shifted. There are perilous safety considerations that need attention.
First, it is instructive that there are health maladies arising from properties located on roads reserves, flight paths, and riparian zones. There are air and noise pollution issues that should be scrutinized.
Secondly, properties residential or commercial should be amenable to persons living with disabilities.
Finally, it is wise to establish whether a property of interest is the subject of annual environmental Audits. The purpose of this is to establish the level of air quality, whether that borehole water is fit for human consumption, whether that generator has adverse impacts on air quality, whether construction materials are lead-based or the roof contains asbestos and whether that security camera is supported by solar to function in events of a power shutdown. The help of a licensed environmental Lead Expert is highly recommended.
It is judicious for all and sundry to rise up against the increasing catalog of dirty lives. Dirty cities and towns, dirty food, dirty money, dirty business, dirty politics, dirty power, dirty water and dirty working conditions.
It is the responsibility of all professionals, developers, buyers and tenants to play their roles to deliver to Kenyans the good lives enshrined in the Constitution of Kenya, 2010. The choice is between prevention and cure.
Mutua P.Nzoka, OGW/Director General
Green Kenya Corporation