Date of Graduation
This dissertation examines Kenyan peri-urbanization using a GIS and Society conceptual framework. The study integrates historical and cultural peri-urban experiences of local communities into a conventional GIS to enhance an analysis of uneven development of residential space in Athi River town, Kenya. The research is guided by three broad objectives: (1) understanding how GIS is impacting Kenyan urban geographic research; (2) building a GIS to study uneven development of residential space, and; (3) integrating community local knowledge into a GIS-based analysis of uneven residential development in a peri-urban setting. The research methodology combines a variety of culturally sensitive but complimentary methods through which multiple realities of the Athi River socio-economic landscape are represented. Quantitative and qualitative surveys are combined with group mental mapping, remote sensing interpretation, focus group discussions, GPS-based transect walks, oral narratives of land use and relevant archival material. The research critically analyzes the changing practices of Kenyan urban geographic research beginning with a comprehensive literature review and complementary intensive interviews. The Athi River GIS includes data on land cover, land use, land potential, land use conversion, hydrology, topography, social and physical infrastructure, service provision and housing. To augment this conventional GIS, community local knowledge in the form of oral narratives, social histories, mental maps, and group discussions are then integrated into the GIS as a local knowledge information layer. Dissertation research findings include: (1) GIS practice for urban geographic research in Kenya is being introduced within an empiricist and positivist epistemological and methodological framework. With more focus on the quantification of directly observable aspects of the built environment, and landscape change in particular, traditional urban geographic methodologies are being transformed while the perceptions of disenfranchised groups are excluded; (2) GIS offers a valuable platform for the assemblage of digital spatial data for the analysis and representation of uneven residential development in a data-poor environment; (3) a community-integrated GIS offers an alternative methodology whereby community local knowledge is integrated into a GIS as an information layer. In the study, local knowledge and expert GIS data were found to be complementary.
Koti, Francis Tama, "Same place yet different worlds: A GIS and society perspective on Kenyan peri-urbanization." (2004). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 9222.