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Department of Spatial Planning
2021 - 2022

Urban waterscapes and the pandemic – changing water practices, technologies and infrastructures in Nairobi

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought to the fore the importance of water access as an essential service protecting human health. Yet, the prevention of human-to-human transmission of the novel virus may be impacted by uneven geographies of water access. The current pandemic presents a dilemma in water-deprived urban areas as residents need to find ways to adapt to new hygiene standards and local Covid-19 responses.

Focusing on Nairobi, Kenya’s capital with historically uneven and highly contested geographies of water, we mobilize the concept of waterscapes in order to understand how Nairobi’s waterscapes have changed during the pandemic; how these waterscape changes relate to new requirements; and in how far they reflect adaptive creativity or re-produce urban fragmentation. Funded by DFG, the project is a 12-month long collaboration between IPS, the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Nairobi, and the British Institute for Eastern Africa.

Many people queuing at a newly errected free-water point in the Kibera area in Nairobi © Moritz Kasper​/​TU Dortmund
People queuing at a newly errected free-water point in Kibera, Nairobi (2021)

Project partners

For "Urban waterscapes and the pandemic", IPS collaborates with:


Here you will find scientific publications that have been produced as part of this research project. You can find comprehensive publication lists on the individual profile pages of all team members.