Harnessing the potential of urban areas for better quality of life

Kenya SymbioCity

Sustainable Urban Development in Kenya

The Council of Governors and the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions(SALAR) have started a programme on sustainable urban development in Kenya.The programme is mainly funded by the Embassy of Sweden in Kenya, which is responsible for Swedish development cooperation in Kenya.

The Kenya SymbioCity programme is implemented by a dedicated team at the Urban Development Secretariat of the Council of Governors. It is composed of staff from CoG as well as technical assistance staff provided by SKL International.

The main cooperation areas within the programme are:

  • Institutional development of Council of Governors
  • Application of the SymbioCity Approach in seven pilot counties
  • Intergovernmental cooperation on urban development
  • Sharing of experiences and networking
Pilot Program

SymbioCity Kenya Pilot Kick-off Workshop in Eldoret

The Kenya SymbioCity programme held the first joint planning workshop. The workshop for the for the seven counties selected as pilot for the programme took place on the 7th -9th, September2016 at Boma Inn Hotel, in Eldoret. The workshop brought together the chief officers, some directors of planning departments, all pilot coordinators, planners and ward administrators from selected pilot towns with the Kenya SymbioCity team from the Council of Governors, SymbioCity advisor and facilitators from Sweden and the UK as well as a representative from UNHabitat.

The seven pilot counties selected by the programme are Kitui, Meru, Nakuru, Kakamega, Trans Nzoia, Kisumu and Homa Bay.  The counties were selected based on their potential to bring about transformation in accordance with the SymbioCity approach.

SymbioCity is a planning approach that aims at creating sustainable urban areas. The hallmark of this methodology is its possibility to spur in the selected towns, dialogue on societal values and aspirations for future development. The thrust of the approach is the use of a holistic multi-sectoral conceptual model that considers the urban systems, the institutional dimensions, and sustainability elements in formulating solutions for urban development.

Workshop Outcomes

By the end of the workshop participants gained understanding of the following:

  • Knowledge of the expected results from the  Kenya SymbioCity programme including understanding of the seed fund, capacity building opportunities and scope of technical assistance that will accrue from the programme;
  • Knowledge of the implementation arrangement  including the responsibilities of the pilot county and other stakeholders in the county, the pilot coordinator, as well as SymbioCity programme, including the mechanisms for financial management;
  • Appreciation of the SymbioCity methodology and localizing the approach to the Kenyan context including elaborate description of activities at each stage, work-plan development, activity planning and scheduling of mission to the counties by Kenya SymbioCity team.

The workshop also provided inspiration drawn from the application of the SymbioCity approach in other countries, such as in Mazabuka in Zambia, and Palu-Boras in Indonesia. By applying the SymbioCity approach, these municipalities have had positive transformation of the attitudes of the citizens, officials, local planners and experts.

It is hoped that Kenya SymbioCity programme will also increase the self-confidence of urban stakeholders in the pilot counties and help them discover that solutions to urban development challenges lies with them.

Workshop Attendees

"I am often not easily surprised, perhaps due to my previous experience in Kenya. But I am impressed by the level of dedication and enthusiasm that I have seen from the selected pilot counties.'Gustaf Asplund, SymbioCity Facilitator

"After this workshop, I now understand SymbioCity as a process through which we can, together with the citizens of Mbita, think about the kind of town we want. The workshop has been hands-on and I am now confident about my role as a pilot coordinator."Richard Bonyo, Pilot coordinator, Homa Bay County.

Contact information to the Kenyan team

Adress: Council of Governors

7th Floor, Delta, Corner

Waiyaki Way/Chiromo Road

Westlands, Nairobi


E-mail: info@symbiocitykenya.org