Kisumu’s Fourth Migration
Back in the 1920s when the planning profession was still in its infancy, thesprawl being as a result of the railroad and not the automobile that came to be the dominant causal factor of urban sprawl in cities globallylater, Lewis Mumford predicted how the fourth migration would define the new growth of cities where people would move to the suburbs from the central city. That is a trend that happened almost a century ago .But as some cities in the developed world are on the fifth migration which is the reurbanization of the inner city quarters that had been depopulated as a result of the fourth migration(Fishman, 2004).Kisumu like other cities in the global south is facing the fourth migration.
To quote Lewis Mumford “It is evident that each great movement of population, in sum, presents a new opportunity and a new task, and wisdom consists in taking advantage of the movement while it is still fluid” (Mumford, 1925, p. 133).
Today Kisumu unlike the developed cities in the times of Mumford are unlike in many ways from the industries, infrastructure and what drove the fourth migration. Kisumu is your typical post independent city that along the way found planning as being an inconvenience and ignored it entirely mainly due to resource constraints and the inability to control the thousands of natives that after independence could be allowed to move into the urban center. This led to mushrooming of slums that have grown unabated. Another factor common between Today’s African cities and the industrial city of the developed world back then is the issue of slums.
Manyatta Estate Kisumu Source
Kisumu over the years has reinvented itself with a bustling real estate sector with conservative estimates putting it at position three after Nairobi and Mombasa. The revival of Kisumu has brought with it the fourth migration with people leaving the bustle of the city for the calm and fresh air of the suburbs. This growth is happening on all the sides around the city with Riat Hills, Kajulu Hills, Kibos and Mamboleo, Kisian, Maseno as the main areas receiving the new population influx.
Riat Hills Kisumu Source
How long this fourth migration will last no one knows but with these places offering cheaper land alternatives and fresher air many will pack up and go to the burbs. Another driving force is the aging housing stock in the estates close to the city with places like Ondiek, Shauri Moyo ,Arina , Makasembo, Lumumba and Mosque estates the main culprits ,considering other estates that were previously posh the Migosi’s ,US AID and the likes development has come to outstrip infrastructure provision with sewage overflowing relentless, uncollected wastes and amidst all this the relevant authorities remain unperturbed.
The fourth migration requires infrastructure provision for the far flung places, but the lack of it is not stopping the trend, private investment in the basic infrastructure like water among others is reducing the threshold needed to dominate and subdue the environment that previously was beyond habitation in the areas far flung from the city center.
The fourth migration will at one point come to an end but learning from what is happening in the developed world we can start to stem it by revitalizing inner city neighborhoods the colonial and post-colonial housing stock needs to go and there is need to start matching settlement needs with the basic infrastructure like water and sewerage failure to which we will create inner cities that are inhabitable prompting the able to take the fourth migration. The Polyview estates and the Lolwe’s that are the new middle class will soon be encroached with breakdown in service provision and infrastructure provision unless adequate development control and planning is adopted.
The fourth migration of Kisumu is on with improvement in infrastructure and affordable automobile people will move places that are 30 minutes to one hour from the city center ,far from the congestion and uncertainties to a new tomorrow that the suburbs in their calmness and fresh air offers.
Fishman, R. (2004). The Fifth Migration. Journal of American Planning Association, 71(4).
Mumford, L. (1925). The Fourth Migration.