The continued development of mixed-use real estate projects which integrate offices,
homes and leisure has placed Nairobi among key global cities where such schemes are reducing the overall
commute time, according to Knight Frank’s Global Cities 2018 Report.
Nairobi’s integrated mixed-use developments include Garden City by Actis on Thika Road, which has a high
quality shopping mall with blocks of high-end apartments and offices under construction. The model is set to
be mirrored by Centum’s Two Rivers development, and The Pinnacle, which recently broke ground in Upper
These developments, among others coming up, demonstrate that Nairobi is keeping with the global trend
where work and home life are coming together in mixed-use schemes. Nairobi and Dubai are among cities
emulating mature markets such as London, San Francisco, New York and Miami where development of
mixed-use projects is relatively advanced.
Ben Woodhams, Managing Director Knight Frank Kenya, states in the report that: “Nairobi, like many
regional hubs in emerging markets, has a rapidly expanding population and the city’s infrastructure struggles
to keep pace. One challenge that this creates is traffic, which means a large amount of time is spent sat in the
numerous tailbacks that occur in and around the city. As a result, the concept of live-work-play mixed-use
developments is rapidly catching on, with a number of projects offering office, residential and retail elements
within one scheme.”
In other parts of the city, simple solutions are being used to create mixed environments by linking separate
neighbourhoods, further illustrating the growing desire for people to walk to work. For example, a new
footbridge over Nairobi River now connects 14 Riverside Drive, a commercial development, with Riverside
Park which is a prime residential development.
The fourth edition of the Global Cities report, which has just been published, says there is a growing focus by
city authorities and private developers worldwide to create true mixed-used use environments that provide
seamlessly for living, working and leisure.
“This process has been encouraged by shifts in economic activity, for example the redevelopment of former
industrial and dockland districts near city centres, and rising competition between businesses as they look to
attract and retain talent,” the report notes.
Key economic forecasts indicate support for future growth of mixed-use environments, including: a rise in the
overall numbers of employees in cities; an increase in the incomes of these employees (notably in cities
across developing economies); and an enhanced desire to spend incomes in ways that support the successful
expansion of these environments.
The Global Cities 2018 report notes that urban environments will be influenced by the ways in which the rising
incomes are spent and this will fuel demand for mixed-use developments in cities over the next decade.
In Nairobi, for instance, the total spend in restaurants—and eating out more broadly—is anticipated to rise by
77% from US$848 million in 2017 to US$1.5 billion over the next decade. Oxford Economics has also forecasth that households with annual incomes of US$35,000-70,000 in Nairobi will more than double between 2017 and 2027, a 110% increase.
The Global Cities 2018 report notes that as a result, increased demand for integrated mixed-use developments globally will simultaneously grow the opportunity for developers and other experts involved in providing these environments.