• SmallBanner 01
  • SmallBanner 02
  • SmallBanner 03

Colonial planning of Nairobi airports, 1933–1953


Year published: 2021
Categories: Journal Article
URL Link: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/02665433.2020.1858944?needAccess=true

Author / Authors:

  • Gordon Pirie


Planning Perspectives, DOI: 10.1080/02665433.2020.1858944


Most published histories of airport planning relate to decisions taken autonomously by national or local authorities on continents such as North America and Europe. Elsewhere, such as Africa, colonial governments had a large role in airport planning and provision. Using official government records at archives in Nairobi and London, this paper traces the layered and convoluted decision-making processes behind Britain's planning of airports in Kenya's capital city. Government ministries in London, and the British national airline, wanted new facilities in East Africa for post-War civil aircraft, but were unable to agree on which agency would bear what share of the cost. Kenya's own colonial authorities contested the need for and affordability of the colonial project. Disputes proceeded in a fog of engineering and financial assumptions and estimates. In 1953, approval of Nairobi's third – and current – international airport ended eight years of British-mediated surveys, negotiation and indecision about land and infrastructure on the urban edge.

Download full paper (pdf): https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/02665433.2020.1858944?needAccess=true


  • Journal Article