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Urban Stress In Nairobi Essay

2258 words - 9 pages

I. Introduction
As human civilization has grown, most inhabitants have increasingly chosen urban areas as their preferred area of residence. This is due to the availability of resources such as employment opportunities, housing, and greater wealth than can be found within the rural countryside. However, this build-up of individuals within a small urban area causes a great deal of urban stress upon the inhabitants of the city. Urban stress is the stressors within city areas that cause increased pressure and mental health disorders within individuals. Such stressors can range from lack of housing, overcrowding, pollution and high crime rates that cause significant anxiety to city residents. While these are found in most urban areas, this phenomenon is particularly noticeable in industrializing regions of the world, as cities in the developing world face significant pressures due to a lack of urban planning and development for their vast number of citizens.
Urban stressors are a significant problem within Nairobi and pose a threat to the continued growth of the city. As the capital of Kenya, Nairobi is a city of nearly 3.5 million individuals; the city has a population density of 12,600 individuals per square miles. Due to the high influx of migrant workers from Kenya and surrounding regions, Nairobi is growing much faster than its planners anticipated. Infrastructure within the city was not designed for the level of use and a lack of government planning has created a crisis in the quality of living. The high demand for housing and a lack of supply has caused a surge in the growth of slums, which lack the appropriate resources to fully develop and grow into city neighborhoods. Nairobi is a city short of money that is facing both social and environmental urban stressors as a result of poor housing, congestion, pollution, and high crime rates.
II. Housing
Within Nairobi, there is a significant problem in terms of housing and its access to public services. The growth of the city rapidly accelerated within the past decade and a half as a result of its growing prominence within East Africa, and as such, this economic growth has increased the migrant worker population by significant amounts. Due to the lack of housing growth, much of this population settled on the outskirts of the city and created a large network of slums to cater to this new group within the city. These slums are barely sufficient for human habitation and do not have the basic services that allow for the health and sustainability of the population. Slums within Nairobi lack access to sanitation facilities, face dangerous low levels of water quality, and most do not have basic access to electricity. Nearly 60% of the 2.5 million slum residents have any access to basic services. This poses a problem for the city, as the lack of basic resources and access prevents the improvement of conditions (Werlin).
Furthermore, the lack of access to utilities and sanitation increases the risk of...

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