Background

The project started with the publication “Korogocho Streetscapes – documenting the role and potentials of streets in citywide slum upgrading”, published by UN Habitat in 2012. The publication is an evaluation of the street upgrading programme that was implemented through the Korogocho Slum Upgrading Programme (KSUP). A strong collaboration between the grassroots organization Hoperaisers and the initiators of the report arose during the process of finalizing the publication. In 2014, the collaboration is entering a new stage, where the lessons learnt from the publication and the strong local knowledge held by Hoperaisers will be combined in an effort to work with young people in Korogocho in order to transform the streetscape from the ground. Architects without Borders SE and Hoperaisers will work with the streets to improve the life of youth in the area, formulated in three bridging goals:

  1. Create safer, democratic and more vibrant street life in Korogocho. This is done by the
    acknowledgement of the power of art and culture as a generator of public space.
  2. Work with the streets as a common performance ground to integrate sports, art and play
    in strengthening the Korogocho identity.
  3. Work with children and youth to improve self-esteem and confidence to act in public
    space.

Streets and youth

Streets serve as democratic, open public space and as platforms for economic and social development. They play a fundamental role for the public life in cities, by representing meaning, identity and orientation in a city. Streets should be looked upon not only as the physical entity for mobility but also as the public realm that articulates and promotes social,
cultural and economic activities.

Youth form the next generation in cities. Despite this, youth are often being marginalized in planning processes, considered to be the perpetrators of criminal activity and vandalism. However, these actions are often an expression of frustration over being excluded in society. By involving youth groups and seeing them as a resource in urban transformation processes they feel involved, responsible and attached to the wider urban fabric, generating urban as well as individual transformation. When young people are taking part in urban transformation processes it nurtures a connection to the streetscape and to the city as a whole. Experienced social inclusion in the city and the belonging to a greater context decreases the feeling of marginalization and segregation. The allowance of individual expression in public realm leads to improvement of security and safety and nurtures individual initiatives of improving the public space.