The Perception of Identity through the Street Nomenclature of Nairobi CBD
Nairobi Central Business District is the commercial and administrative hub of Nairobi City, Kenya. Its status and influence is not limited to Nairobi City only but the whole Nairobi Metropolitan Region. This study is based on the premise that the identity of Nairobi CBD affects the identity of the whole Nairobi metropolitan region due to its centrality in function and geographical location. The study is focused on the identity of the CBD as reflected by the street nomenclature.
Street names are as old as the city itself beginning with the oldest plan of the city in 1900. A historical chronology of the names and name changes over time, followed by an analysis of the meanings of names and categorization of the names depending on their meanings for the purpose of interpretation. To achieve this, the available data on the pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial names of streets are collected and grouped using a street name categorization table. The main categories include: people (statehood, culture creators and artistes); geography (names of towns, regions, localities, traits of physical features): historic events and institutions (social and political movements and national days).
According to the findings of our study, a major shift in naming of streets in Nairobi’s CBD occurred since the end of the colonial period and this change has given the CBD an indigenous character which the people in the whole Nairobi metropolitan region can identify with.
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