Opinion and Analysis
Rush for Upper Hill turns sour
Posted Sunday, May 27 2012 at 17:08
‘‘The Hill’’, or Upper Hill, has in recent years been the destination of choice for many corporate institutions in Nairobi.
It is now home to the World Bank Regional Office, The British Embassy, Coca Cola, major banks, insurance firms, private members’ clubs and a number of medium and high-end hotels.
A number of public agencies have also lately relocated here. The multi-storey Rahimtullah Tower stands tall over these developments.
Defined by the Railways Golf Course to its East, the Public Service Club to the West, Ngong and Elgon Roads to the North and South, The Hill has experienced unprecedented new construction in recent years.
It still remains a “cool” place to do business or host some business lunch. Compared to the hyper congested CBD, The Hill has good aesthetics and a reasonable spice of green zones which lift up working moods.
In the old days, this zone was home to low and middle density housing for public servants. After Karen, Muthaiga, and Lavington, this was perhaps the next most prestigious residential address for government bigwigs and others in the then East African Railways.
It’s therefore easy to appreciate why the zone would always receive priority attention on matters of infrastructure and security. But with the recent rapid high rise developments, this zone may cease to be pristine.
The initial infrastructure for the roads, water and sewer was commensurate with the then low population density.
Bane of The Hill
City Hall has however since changed user to office cum commercial and left standards open to high rise developments.
This is fine given today’s pressing need for commercial space. Notably, buildings recently put up here play home to large teams of workers.
The attractive new hotels are good magnets for daytime dinners and night time patrons.
This heavy population is taking toll on infrastructure. The roads are slowly getting overstretched and jams are becoming a common feature on The Hill.
Upper Hill Road which winds its way below Upper Hill High School should be widened.
Traffic flow on this road is interrupted by the friendly but permanent road barriers next to the British Embassy.