NAIROBI started in 1896 as a transport depot on a site that was none too favourable except for the railway which reached it three years later from the coast. Since then it has grown rapidly but largely without a plan, and now, with more than 100,000 inhabitants, is one of the largest inland towns of tropical Africa. The population is mixed, with Bantu Negroes in the majority ; next in number Indians, and fewest, but in a dominating capacity, Europeans. At an altitude of 3,600 feet it has a climate suitable for Europeans and its centrality marks it out as the eventual capital of all European-held East Africa. At its present rate of growth it should reach nearly 300,000, which the authors think will be a desirable size about 1975, that is to say, if the serious problem of an adequate water supply can be solved. The rapid rise called for the planning and regulating of the town growth, and the present volume is the outcome of a careful study of the site and the functions of the town both at present and in the years to come. It was prepared at the instigation of the Municipal Council of Nairobi by an architect, a civil engineer and a sociologist. The inclusion of the last in the team was a recognition that problems of race, caste and religion as well as purely material considerations had to be faced. The report not merely plans Nairobi for many years to come ; it is also a discussion of the problems involved by Europe‘s introduction of the town and all it involves to the agricultural and pastoral peoples of tropical Africa.
Nairobi, Master Plan for a Colonial Capital
A Report prepared for the Municipal Council of Nairobi. By Prof. L. W. Thornton White, L. Silberman and P. R. Anderson. Pp. vii + 92. (London: H.M. Stationery Office, 1948.) 21s. net.
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Nairobi, Master Plan for a Colonial Capital. Nature 162, 432 (1948). https://doi.org/10.1038/162432d0