Capturing landscape identity in the context of urban renewal: The case of Kisumu City, Kenya
Keywords:Global South, Kisumu, Kenya, landscape identity, postcolonial Africa, urban landscape identity, urban renewal
Urban renewal is undertaken to respond to the physical deterioration of built forms in postcolonial Africa, with renewal works affecting current cities’ identities. Globalisation trends have cities striving to be unique, with a growing awareness of the importance of identity. Landscape identity is adopted in this study as the overall term that includes other identities and is interpreted as residents’ perception of the special features that help them differentiate between places. This study postulates that a city’s uniqueness lies in its landscape identity and that this should not be neglected. The article investigates the concept of landscape identity in the context of a case study of the city of Kisumu, Kenya, which has recently undergone urban renewal. The aim of the study was to identify the main aspects that constitute the formation of landscape identity in Kisumu. A mixed-methods approach was used, which included field investigations, a survey with 384 participants, and four key informant interviews. The survey results revealed that the city’s location along Lake Victoria, which represented an element of the natural environment, gave it the highest rating. The proximity to Lake Victoria and views of the hills were regarded as the most outstanding features of the city, while the lake was the highest ranked element with symbolic meaning that evoked individual and collective memories. These findings suggest that the urban landscape identity in Kisumu is strongly connected to features of the natural environment.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Edwin Koyoo, Ida Breed
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