Event | An Olympian’s Solution: The Unwalkable Walking City & other Paradoxes

Image credits: http://www.royalgazette.com/ Photo by Scott Neil

Image credits: http://www.royalgazette.com/ Photo by Scott Neil

May 10 2013, 18:00 – 20:00,
Entry: free
Alliance Française de Nairobi

Naipolitans have announced that this month’s conversation will be throwing a spotlight on the potential contribution of Nairobi residents to create healthier and safer urban spaces.

Healthier Cities

Douglas Wakiihuri will share his experiences as an Olympian, retired competitive runner and current road runner. He will speak to the challenges that the ever evolving urban environment impose on his running activities and the lifestyles of urban residents. Douglas runs the Sotokoto Marathon, mentors a group of young runners (children) in Kibera and encourages city dwellers to lead active lives. Herein lies the challenge, he’s discovered; it’s neither “healthy” nor safe to lead an active life in the city.

Paradoxes exist from the lack of appropriate urban infrastructure (e.g. encouraging walking in an unwalkable city) and facilities (Kenya produces elite runners in spite of the lack of locally accessible training facilities as Wakiihuri points out) to the lack of green spaces. Nairobi’s setup tends to encourage a sedentary or vehicle dependent lifestyle.

Safer Cities

Safety, as tragically revealed during the recent events at the Boston Marathon, is also key. In addition to personal safety which is hits closer to home, pedestrian safety, air quality and easily accessible paths are all legitimate concerns for the would be walker, jogger or runner. To that end, Juma Assiago from UN Habitat’s Safer Cities program will engage participants in an exchange about the development of safety measures at city level.


About Naipolitans

They are urban professionals, residents and enthusiasts, trying to figure out how, when, where, and what we can do to make Nairobi and Kenya a better place to live. They have experiences from within and outside Kenya that show that it is possible to have livable urban spaces and  want to bring those experiences to bear on Nairobi. The Naipolitans platform provides that neutral space necessary to host conversations about urban-shaping initiatives taking place across our city. They meet on the second Friday of every month.

About Alliance Française

Alliance Française de Nairobi is a Kenyan not-for-profit language and cultural centre.  Its principal objectives include the teaching and promotion of the French language, fostering appreciation and understanding of French and Francophone cultures and promoting cultural diversity.  Its modus operandi is underpinned by the founding humanist values of the international Alliance Française network.

In addition to offering quality French language courses and a dynamic programme of monthly activities showcasing local and international Arts, facilitating creativity and promoting intercultural enrichment, Alliance Française continues to work with socially responsible groups in raising awareness, furthering understanding and action on issues of human rights and development.