Moving in Nairobi

How does an individuals method of urban mobility impact their experience of a city and their perceptions of urban traffic? Moving in Nairobi, an exhibition that draws upon over 15 years of research, captures the city of Nairobi through the eyes of four commuters to explore this question.

Moving in Nairobi, previously exhibited by the Civic Data Design Lab (CDDL) in Seoul (2019), is now part of Jiji ni ya Who (Who does the City belong to?). The Jiji ni ya Who? initiative was started by the Alliance Francaise de Nairobi and the Goethe-Institut Nairobi, in partnership with the GoDown Arts Center. The initiative uses arts and culture activities to explore how Nairobians relate to the city; celebrating and exploring urban identity with an aim to promote public participation in sustainable urban development.

"After working in Nairobi for over 15 years focusing on the cities transportation issues, much of which created a digital map of the matatus system which became the first semi-formal transit system on Google maps, I wanted to bring attention to Nairobi's transport ecosystem by celebrating those who help us (Nairobians) get around everyday," said Sarah Williams, associate professor of Technology and Urban Planning, director of CDDL, and director of the Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism. "Seeing Nairobi through their eyes highlights the need for a more equitable transportation system available to everyone in Nairobi."

Moving in Nairobi explores urban traffic through the lens of four commuters who either walk, ride boda bodas (motorcycles), take matatus (buses) or Ubers to make their way around Nairobi. These stories are brought to life through life-size portraits and time-lapse videos which capture the bustling energy of the city.

Using a combination of data visualization and first hand experiences, the exhibition draws from traffic data collected from Google, Uber and mobile data to illustrate Nairobi’s growing traffic congestion problem. The content of the exhibition cumulates in the form of an infographic newspaper pamphlet which depicts the relationship between the commuters personal experience and current transportation development issues.

Learn more about Moving in Nairobi and CDDL research, here.

Photo credits: Alliance Francaise de Nairobi