HARMONIOUS CITIES | Mild thoughts on City of Men…

•October 12, 2010 • 1 Comment

Preamble :

I love poetry and so i got this piece to serve as a minor deviation from the occasion to post a new blog! It speaks truthfully of my account…

Once I Pass’d Through a Populous City

ONCE I pass’d through a populous city, imprinting my brain, for future use, with its shows, architecture, customs, and traditions;

Yet now, of all that city, I remember only a woman I casually met there, who detain’d me for love of me;
Day by day and night by night we were together,—All else has long been forgotten by me;

I remember, I say, only that woman who passionately clung to me;
Again we wander—we love—we separate again;
Again she holds me by the hand—I must not go!
I see her close beside me, with silent lips, sad and tremulous.
{Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Leaves of Grass. 1900}

Half of Humanity!

“Half of humanity now lives in cities, and within two decades, nearly 60 per cent of the world’s people will be urban dwellers.  Urban growth is most rapid in the developing world, where cities gain an average of 5 million residents every month.

As cities grow in size and population, harmony among the spatial, social and environmental aspects of a city and between their inhabitants becomes of paramount importance.”- Anna K. Tibainjuka (UN-Habitat)

Nairobi Metropolis 2030

The natural and induced growth of cities and the rapid growth of its populations means that the City Fathers have to give a new direction to the “traffic”. Men, just like cars…move in traffic

Human relations and their common bounds generally imputes that they rise or fall together. If the City is insecure, it shall be so to the rich and the poor: It shall be so to the hard-faced immigrant and the Veteran.

With new economic growth, comes greater responsibility. Economic revival in one strata of the population often means increased inequality, spatial and social disparity. It amazes me how next to almost every other “Settlement” of the rich, there is a “Sprawling slum” besides as if to set a balance. Some ebb and flow, some tit for tat of sorts….

Urban Inequality

Urban inequality has a direct impact on all aspects of human development, including health, nutrition, gender equality and education. Extreme spatial and social divisions, unplanned mobility (transport systems) may reduce peoples engagement in the formal sector of the economy.

If we leave behind our “fellows”, they shall come after us!

I think am proud of the Government of Kenya in its plan towards making Nairobi Metropolis a better place to live, to learn and to love.

Though in comparison to those we love, Whitman says,

“Yet now, of all that city, I remember only a woman I casually met there, who detain’d me for love of me;”

It is because people are the soul of the city!!! There is such a thing as a City of Men, which means harmony in realtions; men fitly framed together.

Those friends you cannot write your story and leave them out in the sentence,

Paul and Silas

Meshack, Shadrack and Abednegoh

They give the city a “personality”, somewhat of a social hinge upon which men like Whitman turn. Apart from the survival aspects of living in the city, its the people in the city that give it the soul.

The City as Home!

I see “old habits” ebb away. Habits like going home back in the village. I do not know yet whether this is a bad or good thing. I shall allow the dispute to pass and only state that an entire generation is being born that knows the City as HOME.

They shall take the great procession onwards!!!

That is why we all need a harmonious city that is at Peace with itself and at peace with US. That is why i deliberately seek to meet my friends on Sunday that we may build a City with a Soul. A city of Men and Women.

It is this that captures my imagination better than the brick and mortar Visions of the City Fathers.

I love the Vision of the Unfolding Metropolis but i Love the People for whom it is written even more!

For whom are we stuck in the City if not for Our OWN? It is because we live not only in the City, but for the City of Our Own,

That which Our Own shall call HOME. And so we seek to possess and dominate it like the villager is pre-occupied by his sprouts, and rabbits, and cow-yards, and chicken, and pigs, and seedlings, and mouse traps…

Kindest regards

David Nahinga

@UjenziBora

The Nairobi Metropolis 2030 #PreviewOfThings

•October 9, 2010 • 2 Comments

This is an introductory post on the Nairobi Metropolitan Region and its Significance:

STRATEGIC LOCATION:

Nairobi Metropolitan Region(NMR) is the connecting point of North-South and East-WestTrans African Highway (TAH). It is strategically located and can thus play a significant role in the economies of the region and Kenya as a whole.

The North-South TAH is 8,860 Kilometres long and runs from Cairo to Gaborone to Cape Town while the East-West TAH is 6,260 kilometres long and runs from Lagos to Mombasa.

CONSTITUENTS OF NMR :

As a city, Nairobi contributes about 50% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Kenya and accounts for the largest proportion of the wage employment in the country at 44.3% (CBS,2003)

However, the Nairobi Metropolitan Region is a far greater and ambitious strategic move by the Government of Kenya in Spartial Planning and Urban Rejuvenation. It includes the city of Nairobi (which is merely 32,000 sq.Km) and the surrounding 14 local authorities that is:

  • 4No. County Councils:  Kiambu, Olkejuado, Thika and Masaku
  • 6No. Municipal Councils : Ruiru, Thika ,Kiambu , Mavoko, Machakos and Limuru
  • 4No. Town Councils : Kikuyu, Karuri, Kajiado and Kang’undo.

The Nairobi Metropolitan Vision christened Metro 2030 seeks among other things to embrace a suite of policies, Plans and Regulations that will be realized through 7 Key result Areas. I must admit that the city fathers have truly thought out some goodstuff and things are bound to be better.

In the coming days/years, we shall see the Nairobi Metropolis experience growth in a more faster and accelerated rate than we have ever seen in its previous existence.

Ceteris Paribus, there shall be heavy capital investments in the Built Environment which comprises mainly of Buildings and Infrastructure so that the metropolis develops the following 7 Key Result Areas (KRA):

  1. An internationally competitive and Inclusive economy for prosperity
  2. World Class Infrastructure and Utilities
  3. Optimized Mobility & Connectivity through Effective Transportation
  4. Enhanced Quality of Life
  5. A Unique image and identity through Effective Place Branding
  6. World Class Governance System
  7. A Safe and Secure region

THINK AHEAD:

Nairobi is bound to become a new Hub of Economic Activities and we need to get ready and think ahead TO EMBRACE THE OPPORTUNITIES.

There shall be caused to be created New Town, New Cities, New Roads and new land use patterns.

A shift is coming.

It is projected that by the year 2030, Nairobi alone shall bear a population of about 6,585,959 people and the greater NMR region approximately 12,426,338 people. As at the year 2007, the population of the NMR was about 6.2 million people. This has a lot of implications to those “thinking ahead”

There shall be a re-alignment of the whole landscape and it will not be “Business as Usual”. For example, looking at the economic activities, there shall be

  • A logistic hub and freight complex (proposed to be located between Kajiado County Council and Masaku County Council)
  • A regional Financial Hub within Nairobi
  • Manufacturing, Industrial, and Technology Parks (Including Medi-City, IT Hubs, Entertainment City, Metal Parks and Theme Based Parks)
  • New regional Centres and Urban Extyensions

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”-Albert Einstein

LAST WORD :

I shall be posting details on “where the city is going” with a view to enlighten those who are thinking ahead. I believe in Vision and people being determined to embrace new opportunities and frontiers. Change is the only thing that is constant and we must re-align ourselves with the New Vision of the City.

“The ultimate aim of production is not production of goods but the production of free human beings associated with one another on terms of equality”- Jon Dewey

REF/DOWNLOADS;

1. Nairobi Metro 2030: A World Class African Metropolis, Ministry of Nairobi Metropolitan Development, Government of the Republic of Kenya, 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Data from the recently concluded 46th ISOCARP International Congress. Nairobi – Kenya, 19-23 September 2010

-David Nahinga.| @UjenziBora

COST PLANNING YOUR BUILDING PROJECT | the basics

•September 20, 2010 • 1 Comment

The general premise I would wish to take emanates from the intriguing question, “If a man wants to build a house, does he not first sit down and estimate the cost?”

It is thus imperative that one needs to “sit down” and contemplate or wrap his mind around the entire building project to determine whether it is worth his while to embark on the journey of construction.

While undertaking Cost Planning for your building project, it is important to keep in mind that the final cost of the house will be affected by both Design Factors and Economic Factors.

Design Factors

The design factors like shape and size of the building, complexity of the design, circulation space of the building, the height and the structural design of the building will have a bearing on the final cost.

It is also worthwhile to note that the workmanship and quality of materials to be used as determined by the specifications will have an impact on the cost. Most persons wishing to build are surprised at how varying one item like the type of finishes can have a high impact on their construction budget.

As an example, wooden floor finishes have a higher long term running cost as compared to simple screed finishes comprising of cement and sand mortar.

Economic Factors

There are other hidden factors that will have an effect on the final cost of doing the building project. For instance, the interest on borrowed funds and price fluctuations caused by inflations or market forces can affect an initial cost plan of a project.

The source of the building materials, that is, whether available locally or imported will also affect the overall cost plan. There are some designs that may necessitate sourcing of skilled laborers and this would add to the overall cost.

Political Factors

There are Political factors in terms of how stable a neighborhood is or the safety index of a neighborhood. One can readily tell that a high-end zoned neighborhood where the development is controlled could be cheaper in terms of security measures to be incorporated in the cost plan but relatively expensive since one has less free-play in the design variables.

We cannot escape from its multitudinous dimensions that unfold once a decision is made by a man to sit down and build.

Upon completion of the design and comprehension of all factors affecting the cost plan, the tasks, timings and costs are summarized in a Developers Budget or a Project Baseline Plan that will set out for you the roadmap towards home ownership.

Below is a panoramic view of what professions may help such a man to “sit down”. These mainly consists of the “Design Team” and the “Construction Team” who ought to work hand in hand in realizing the dream of the client.

One truly needs to be meek and confident enough to “sit down” when it comes to making a decision to build a House!

I trust that in your meditation to build, you shall consider the aforementioned lest people pass by your incomplete Building Project quoting Scripture:

“For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he has sufficient to finish it?

Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,

Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.”Jesus Christ, Luke 14:28

©David Nahinga 2010,

Twitter: @UjenziBora

Blog: www.ujenzibora.wordpress.com

God and Religion: The argument (via Hishamianism’s Blog)

•August 20, 2010 • 1 Comment

Intro: Hisham is a good friend of mine from Bangladesh, University of Rajshahi, department of English. Co-editor of the literature magazine “Shasshotiki”
We had this debate a long time ago and i am more than happy to recollect my thoughts from his Blog.

My Response on God and Religion:
First on Religion. I think in its plain form, “Religion is mans effort to reach God”. So every man has a religion whether named or “un-named”
It does not necessarily follow that religion is a path revealed to man by God….God reveals yes but as per my definition, Religion is simply mans efforts. This in my opinion explains why we have as many varied religions in the world as we have different personalities.

God has a way of speaking to humans…God is Spirit.
God speaks therefore to the human spirit.Just like a cow can communicate to another cow or a bird to a bird.
When God reveals to the human spirit, it speaks to the human mind and the human mind directs the human body and the world as we know it.
Though i spend a lot of time meditating about the things of God, i.e those He has revealed to my spirit, i think i would be misleading to even attempt to name my religion.
Am not sure what it would be called except the pursuit of knowledge, wisdom, truth and Understanding of the issues of forelife, life and afterlife.
In this manner, i have escaped the many “religious traditions” which do not agree with my spirit.

Hisham ,I like your wholesome and articulate thinking,
You say “we humans have sparks within us from which we can create our own universes”…and you could not be further from the truth.

If i may borrow a line from the writtings of Paul who was a disciple of Jesus,
He said “for you shall speak into the air”.

Going back to whom he was a disciple of (Jesus) we find the words, “it is enough for the student to be like the teacher”

I think the ultimate goal and most supreme Goal for man must be to fulfill that scripture in Psalms which simply says “Ye are gods”

That is ENOUGHNESS, and i think the day we shall have the “thoughts of God” we shall have attained what you have called Nicholas being Exactly like his Father.
To attain this image of God in us is the Absolute thing.
We are in the image of God but God is not in the image of man…and this alone is the dividing line between Man and God, otherwise in my purest contemplation “I am a god” and He is “GOD”….the process of becoming that god in the image of GOD is what you may refer to as Religion or Philosophy or Budhaism etc ….each chosen method having its known limits even though i may pursue an integrated pure search wherein there is found no ERROR

Rial Ahsan (Toronto, ON) replied to David’s post:
Thanks David for the post. I would agree with you regarding the definition of Religion and the fact that all humans have some from of religion including the Ones, who declares themselves as Atheists. Regarding God talking to us. We are part of him and He is present within us through his presence in our souls. A part of Him (not being any gender radical of some sort) is given to us and that is how we are of Him and our conscience is build around what He says to us. This is irrespective of whether or not one has a declared religion or not. Religion, as I understand is a method written with the median mass in mind to educate themselves about the path one should take to reach Him and in making this world a better place to live.

God and Religion: The argument

IN THIS ARGUMENT: 1. Hisham Mohammad Nazer, University of Rajshahi, department of English. Co-editor of the literature magazine “Shasshotiki”. 2. Mr. Rial Ahsan, Dishari Management International, Position: CEO, Toronto Canada 3. Rahul, University of Rajshahi, department of English. 4. David Nahinga, University of Nairobi ’04, B.A. Building Economics, Pg.Dip Project Management. 5. Simona Mazarel, Transylvania University of Brasov. Hisham: Sotto, ‘ … Read More

via Hishamianism’s Blog

the Art of Manliness | Thoreau, Plato & Hobbes

•August 6, 2010 • Leave a Comment

There is this website called the Art of Manliness which i enjoy the quality of the posts. Its one of the best sites i found for we the men *and the women that love us*.

From time to time, i have found their posts beneficial and indeed helpful.

For example, the site had this feature on

100 Must-Read Books: The Essential Man’s Library

This was a very interesting post to me! The books i love the most were featured including Plato’s The Republic , Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations and Walden by Henry David Thoreau!!!

Since every man can use a fair portion of philosophy in his literary diet, the origin of legitimate western thought might be a good place to start. Plato’s most well known work breaks down topics of which you should have a fundamental understanding such as government, justice, and political theory.

The Compilation did not miss the mind-boggling book i acquired recently: Leviathan 🙂 by Thomas Hobbes

Written during the English Civil War, Hobbes’ work is one of the foremost authorities in political theory and contributed greatly to Enlightenment philosophy. Leviathan’s primary concern is the centralized power of the sovereign state existing to maintain order and peace both within and without. A valuable resource, as a man never knows when he is going to be commissioned with the task of forming a new government.

“In the first place, I put for a general inclination of all mankind, a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death.”

It was with great delight when my mind was refreshed on the works of Aristotle! More so in The Politics

Look at this:

“Now if some men excelled others in the same degree in which gods and heroes are supposed to excel mankind in general… so that the superiority of the governors was undisputed and patent to their subjects, it would clearly be better that once for all the one class should rule and the others serve. But since this is unattainable, and kings have no marked superiority over their subjects… it is obviously necessary on many grounds that all the citizens alike should take their turn of governing and being governed.”- Aristotle,

Who can forget George Orwell! Author of Animal Farm. That was a great allegory.

Lastly but not least, they featured the book that has inspired that line on the header of the UjenziBora Blog, The Bible!!

I enjoy taking counsel from it and taking heed to straighten my crooked paths.

In addition, the Bible is full of ancient counsel and advice that is applicable to today’s man, whether you’re a believer in God or not.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things. – I Corinthians 13:11

On July 28, 2010 The Art of Manliness covered yet another great feature where they gave us a look into

14 Famous Man Rooms

Thomas Jefferson’s Study

The author of the Declaration of Independence also was a master architect. Jefferson designed the home that crowned his beautiful Monticello estate.

Jefferson’s man space was his study where he’d read about, write about, and ponder liberty and other profound principles in solitude. The busts of great men served as muses for Jefferson. One of the unique aspects of Jefferson’s man space is how it’s connected to his bedroom. He placed his bed in an alcove in the wall between his study and room. That way Jefferson could roll right out of bed and start working or if he needed to take a power nap after hours of manly meditation and study, he could lie down for a respite.

Henry David Thoreau’s Cabin

My good Sir was not forgotten AGAIN!!!

Tired of the distractions of modern living, Henry David Thoreau went to the woods to live a deliberate and simple life. He borrowed some land near a pond called Walden from friend Ralph Waldo Emerson and built himself a simple 10′x15′ shack. The inside was furnished with a bed, a table, a desk, and three chairs. That’s it. Total cost to build his man shack? $28.12. It was in this small hut in the woods that Thoreau would get the inspiration he needed to write his most famous work of Transcendental Philosophy, Walden, Or Life in the Woods. Thoreau’s rustic man-hut has inspired men for generations to tear out into the woods, build a shack with their own bare man hands, and start sucking the marrow out of life.

Closing Note:

The Art of manliness is a great Website!!!

It inspires the Man in me…

Kindest regards

@UjenziBora

Prefabricated Nature |by MYCC Architects

•August 6, 2010 • Leave a Comment

all photos © fernando guerra/FG+SG

Built in three months and assembled in three days, ‘prefabricated nature’ is a vacation house
by spanish firm MYCC architects (formed by carmina casajuana, beatriz g. casares
and marcos gonzález), located in the galician municipality of cedeira, spain.

Construction:

The volume was wrapped with two materials with the purpose of setting up a dialogue with  the landscape. The roof and the side facades were covered with viroc®, a prefabricated mixture of cement and wood shavings.

The fibercement has a great strength efficiency in spite of being light
and, therefore, is easy to maintain and move. The two main facades of the house were clad with perforated corten trays following the schematized image of a forest silhouette, recreating the image of the surrounding vegetation. This material was chosen because it is part of the local tradition
of fishing towns like cedeira, used for the construction of boat hulls, and the gradual and controlled oxidation of which gives the material self-protecting qualities. Its patina and changing color create  a lively image that relates with the natural environment.

This interplay between the natural and the artificial also benefits the interior spaces, where the light that crosses through these silhouettes
casts shadows of trees in the different rooms.

The house combines two different systems: prefabricated construction (2d) for the attic and modular construction (3d) for the ground floor. The modules were built in the facilities of the construction company

MORE HERE

@UjenziBora

The Unbuilt Berlin | by ArchDaily

•August 6, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This post was originally done at ArchDaily by Karen Cilento

About ArchDaily
ArchDaily was founded in March 2008 with the one mission of delivering the most complete information to architects around the world; every week, every day, every hour, every moment: as soon as it is happening. It is the online source of continuous information for a growing community of thousands of architects searching for the latest architectural news: projects, products, events, interviews and competitions among others.
Introduction:
An exhibit on display at Café Moskau in Berlin, a historic building from the early 1960s, is currently showing hundreds of unbuilt past visions for the city.  Collected by architect Carsten Krohn, the unbuilt Berlin projects showcase architects’ relentless fascination with the city that has such a rich history.
Hans and Wassili Luckhardt’s Concert Hall 1948 © The Unbuilt Berlin

The projects, which were designed between 1907 and 1997, exemplify different theories and design approaches of the era.  The proposals, although all different, share the common desire to re-conceptualize and challenge the accepted architectural ways of the time.  The projects were a way for the architects to create a new identity for the city with dramatically cutting edge ideas – such as Mies van der Rohe’s plans for a skyscraper on Friedrich Strasse in 1921.

Erich Mendelsohn’s High rise on Frederick Street 1929 © The Unbuilt Berlin

A lot of visionary ideas intended for Berlin were never realized due to various historical happenings, such as the construction and fall of the Berlin Wall, which hindered building planning.   Yet, the exhibit is a way to see and imagine what could have been if, perhaps, Austrian architect Joseph Maria Olbrich’s new central square were constructed, or if Ludwig Hilbersheimer’s 1924 vision of a “commercial city” were implemented.

MORE HERE

@UjenziBora