The role of urban space design characteristics in influencing social life of Swahili streets: the case of old town Mombasa

  • NO Hashim
  • BO Moirongo
  • M Makworo
Keywords: Urban space, characteristics, Mombasa, human activities, social life


This paper is based on a study carried out in Old Town Mombasa, a Swahili city in Kenya, situated along the East African Coast. Its focus is on social life of the town’s street system as a correlate of urban space design characteristics. Urban design elements within the streets have been disregarded resulting in spaces that do not adequately support human activities. The city has rich historical, architectural and cultural attributes that make it one of the significant civilizations of the world. Broadly, this paper seeks to establish urban design characteristics that have a relation with human activities in the streets. The study embraces both quantitative and qualitative research methods to investigate urban design elements along the streets. Multiple regression is used in data analysis whereas ANOVA at 99 percent confidence level has been used in testing the significance of the relationship between dependent and independent variables. Results of the study indicate that physical characteristics of the street space influence human activities at different levels. The characteristics are an indispensable consideration in the design of streets that support a vibrant social life in the city.

Key words: Urban space, characteristics, Mombasa, human activities, social life


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eISSN: 1561-7645