Management of the Effects of Land Use Changes on Urban Infrastructure Capacity: A Case Study of Ruaka Town, Kiambu County, Kenya

Dennis Abuya, Maurice Oyugi, Edwin Oyaro


Land use change is a major driver to the effects of climate change and other socio-economic and environmental challenges, a major challenge policy makers, planners and urban managers grapple with. Ruaka town is no exception as it faces high rapid land use change with myriad challenges on the management of the effects on urban infrastructure and aggravated by inadequate inter-agencies, coordination and collaboration. The study is an investigation of the effects of land use changes on urban infrastructure (roads, water supply, and wastewater infrastructure). It seeks to answer the drivers of land use changes and document the spatial-temporal land use changes between the years 1988 to 2019, establish their effects on infrastructure. The study establishes decline in vegetation and agriculture and rise in built -up areas which is partially contributed by urbanization and population growth in the area with major land fragmentations and land use conversions. The findings reveal encroachment of development to vegetation and riparian reserves which expose the human population to disasters and calamities in cases of climate change. Lack of approved planning policy has encouraged massive land use changes due to the ad hoc nature of planning using the development control tools which are not documented. The key drivers of land use changes deduced were good accessibility of the area, land speculation for investments, high returns from investments, demand for housing and accommodation and high population growth. The adverse effects on urban infrastructure includes pollution and contamination of water sources, traffic congestion, use of unconventional onsite waste management practices such as pit latrines and septic tanks for waste water management.The study concluded by evolving a management strategy to unravel the challenges through promotion of a sustainable and resilient urban infrastructure. The strategies emphasize on the technical, social, economic, environmental and jurisdictional dimensions.

Key Terms: County Government, Development, Land Cover, Land Use, Land, Sustainable Development, Urban Infrastructure and Urban Sprawl.

DOI: 10.7176/CER/11-7-03

Publication date: August 31st 2019

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5790 ISSN (Online)2225-0514

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