Spatial Patterns of Residential Fragmentation and Quality of Life in Nairobi City, Kenya

Eunice Nthambi Jimmy, J. Martinez*, J. Verplanke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
129 Downloads (Pure)


Residential fragmentation undermines integration by physically excluding some urban dwellers through walling, fencing and use of barriers limiting interactions. Research has shown that many cities in the Global South are experiencing spatial fragmentation issues associated with increasing inequalities, social exclusion and proliferation of gated communities. This results in distinct residential fragments with limited interactions and unequal quality of life (QoL) conditions of the residents of the fragments. The aim of this paper is to describe the association between residential fragmentation and QoL based on three residential fragments in the city of Nairobi (Kenia). A mixed method approach was applied to understand fragmentation in the city and analyse integration and QoL satisfaction in the fragments. Household surveys and key informant interviews were main data collection methods. Data analysis methods used included descriptive statistics, spatial and content analysis. The results show, as expected, slum residents felt the least integrated symbolically compared to the planned non-gated and gated community residents. Similarly, gated community residents have higher QoL satisfaction compared to other types of fragments. There is a strong positive correlation between symbolic integration and QoL domains related to housing and safety in the slum, indicating that people who are satisfied with housing also have a sense of belonging to their neighbourhood. In contrast, community integration has a negative correlation with safety in the gated community implying that when the residents are satisfied with safety, they tend to have low social networks. Based on the empirical evidence, fragmentation is related to specific domains of QoL as it is associated with spatial exclusion through barriers and gating and marginalization of the poor making it harder for them to feel integrated. The residential fragments reflect the intense divides in Global South cities in terms of QoL conditions and access to services.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1493-1517
Number of pages25
JournalApplied research in quality of life
Early online date4 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020


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