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By : Michael Honing

Inadequate housing is a crisis that affects all areas of the world. The severity and magnitude of this crisis has been augmented by the exponential growth in the global population. Expounding upon this problem, particularly in the South, is the migration of rural peoples into urban cores, fostering the creation of mega-cities of illegally developed, inadequate housing. These developments lack basic necessities including access to water, proper sanitation, and safe areas to prepare food. Urban agriculture has presented itself as a key design component in the mission to alleviate the aforementioned crisis. The incorporation of agriculture as a permanent and edible design feature bolsters the design methodology of sustainable urban fabrics by presenting opportunities of cohesion between built and cultural landscapes. Research on one of the largest slum developments, known as Kibera, in Kenya provides a design study in which the addition of edible landscapes contributes to the neighborhood "njia" infrastructure. The term njia refers to the street paths and alleyways that bind the developments. When applied to the model of njia, the potential benefits of the incorporation of urban agriculture into the contextual vocabulary become clear. Designing edible landscapes as a feature of permanence in urban design situations provides the potential to address critical issues concerning development of housing, city planning, and food security.
Keywords : Kibera, Informal Housing, Njia, Urban Agriculture, Sustainability.

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