Urban memory and identity weighed against economic investment in urban renewal projects: A case of Kisumu City, Kenya





urban landscape, urban landscape identity, individual memory, collective memory, historical development, photo elicitation interviews, urban renewal


There have been limited efforts in using collective memory in representing public spaces and implementing urban renewal projects to maintain uniqueness.  This article aims to investigate the role of urban landscape in shaping memories and proposes recommendations that reinforce urban landscape identity. This article postulates that a city’s individual and collective memory is important in maintaining its uniqueness in terms of urban landscape identity. A qualitative research design was adopted. Photo elicitation interviews (PEI) were used to investigate the features that triggered memory of the participants and were important in contributing to the image of Kisumu City. There were ongoing and completed urban renewal projects within Kisumu City, Kenya at the time of the study. 12 PEI participants were purposively selected in addition to four officials from the County Government as key informants and four professionals were interviewed. Field investigation by the researcher was carried out through mapping and photography. The study revealed that the old railway station as human-made element was instrumental in memory through historical development while socio-cultural activities at Kisumu Sports Grounds and social interaction at public Central Square were also highly regarded in memory development. Despite the important interplay of natural, human-made and social interactions in the formation of memory, place and identity, there was also a very positive response from residents on the new look of the city. The physical upgrade and cleaning of the city and its public spaces, which also means greater safety, was well appreciated from a socio-economic point of view.


Download data is not yet available.




How to Cite

Koyoo, E. and Breed, C. . (2024) “Urban memory and identity weighed against economic investment in urban renewal projects: A case of Kisumu City, Kenya”, Acta Structilia, 31(1), pp. 84–119. doi: 10.38140/as.v31i1.7930.



Research articles