SOM

SOM

Tatu City Central Business District

SOM was selected by Rendeavour, Africa's largest urban developer, to create a master plan for the Central Business District of Tatu City, a new mixed-use community in Kenya. Located 16 kilometers northeast of Nairobi, the 160-hectare CBD forms the heart of the new development. With a complementary mix of urban living, work, and leisure opportunities, supported by world-class public amenities, Tatu City represents a vibrant destination for the wider region and a model for future urban development in sub-Saharan Africa.

To enhance livability and commercial value in this new urban environment, SOM’s design prioritizes walkability, an active street life, and quality public realm. Formed in collaboration with local advisors, the plan takes inspiration from urban places in central Nairobi today. An animated retail district employs a mixture of colorful, open and semi-enclosed spaces, which allow users to take advantage of the region's moderate subtropical climate.

A kilometer-long park over the rolling terrain connects the CBD to future neighborhoods to the north and south, with important civic buildings anchoring either end. Amphitheaters support outdoor performances, while ponds and water features also provide stormwater retention and drainage. Eco-trails set within the peripheral green reservations create a counterpoint to this civic park, incorporating the sacred Mugumo tree as a focus.

To develop the design, SOM and Rendeavour hosted a three-week design charrette with students from the University of Nairobi. Through this process, the plan was examined and refined to reflect local customs. Two of the students were awarded a sponsorship for a study tour based in SOM’s London office to further inform the plan.

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