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Why can’t Nairobi people see beyond those smelly malls?

When you’re choosing a place to eat, hang out or meet with friends, you’ll notice that you’re, in fact, consorting in or near a car-park. Nairobi’s shopping malls have mushroomed all over the city and most of their eateries have a stunning view over parked cars.

This is because for many restaurants and cafés this is the only way they can maintain a steady flow of customers.

As you enjoy your Caesar salad with a side-order of carbon monoxide, it’s important to start questioning how the city is developing and how our culture is starting to rotate around shopping malls.

This ‘car-park culture’ is making us accept that the city is slowly but surely losing its green spaces. We are spending more and more time indoors.

It is happening because of either the nature or absence of urban development policy.

Our city is greatly fragmented, everyone huddled together in random isolated spots, wherever they can find a place with options of food, entertainment, and shopping.

The nature of these places is also increasingly monotonous; the under-used food courts with the uncomfortable seats, bland atmosphere, and smelly cinemas.

These malls are not just threatening your wallet, they are threatening our ability to have new experiences.

Week in and week out I am constantly being told by friends that they’re sick of doing the same old thing, sick of the Big Smoke.

It’s partially because our choices have been limited by the lack of diversity but it’s also because life rotates around these shopping malls, we forget to look elsewhere.

There are a lot of things to do in and around Nairobi, many places to explore.

Unfortunately our city’s socially and economically segregated nature means that nobody is able to see beyond what they perceive the city to be.