6 Nairobi Areas Where 4-Storey Buildings Are Prohibited [LIST]

An aerial view of Kilimani in Nairobi County.
An aerial view of Kilimani in Nairobi County.

The nation’s capital is divided into 20 zones according to Nairobi City Development Ordinance and Zoning Guide,

Zoning is a planning control for the built environment that includes dividing land into sections, permitting land use on specific sites to shape the layout of towns and cities, and enabling various types of developments. 

A zoning system has been adopted by all counties and apart from determining the height of buildings, it is also used to determine the minimum acreage of land per plot.

Of note is Zone 4, in Nairobi, which consists of posh areas like Spring Valley, Riverside Drive, Kileleshwa, Kilimani, Thompson and Woodley.

Aerial view of Nairobi City
A photo of the aerial view of Nairobi City
Kenya Pics

According to the ordinance guide, building houses more than four storeys high is illegal in the aforementioned areas.

Additionally, only residential properties are allowed in those regions unless it is in sewer regions where the construction of apartments is allowed - all under 4 storeys.

Westlands, which lies in Zone 3, has the building height also capped at four storeys but the directive has been continuously flouted.

Unlike in Zone 4, contractors are allowed to erect commercial, offices and residential buildings in Zone 3. As a result, high-rise flats are allowed in Westlands, a loophole contractors exploit to surpass the four-storey limit. 

Zone 12 (Karen and Langata) and Zone 13 (Gigiri, Kitisuru, Ridgeways, Garden Estate, and Safari Park) are also areas with strict building limitations.

In those areas, only low-density residential developments are allowed which are one-family dwelling houses. 

Areas where high-rise flats and skyscrapers are allowed, include; Nairobi Central Business District (CBD), Upperhill, Eastleigh, and Parklands.

In Dandora, Mathare and Kariobangi, only light industries and godowns are allowed for construction with Githurai, Zimmerman and Kahawa West approved for a mixed industrial and residential development. 

Zone 20 is made of the State House, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Wilson Airport and Military Sites where types of developments allowed are special/strategic facilities.

Public open spaces, reserves and recreational facilities include; City Park, Arboretum, Ngong Forest, Karura Forest, Uhuru Park, Central Park, Uhuru Gardens and all national stadiums. 

An aerial photo of Westlands, Nairobi County captured by a drone on April 20, 2023.
An aerial photo of Westlands, Nairobi County captured by a drone on April 20, 2023.
Moja Expressway
  • .