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University of Eldoret
Urbanization and its related environmental problems demand for sustainable urban planning and management policies to safe guard the quality of urban environments. Urban Green Spaces (UGS) form an important component of the urban environment. They provide many environmental, health, and social services that contribute to the quality of life in cities. Unfortunately, green spaces are not being provided to match the growing urban population. Analyzing the current status of green spaces in urban areas thus serves as a tool for their planning and development. In this study, the status of green spaces in Eldoret Central Business District (CBD) and its environs was analyzed in terms of quantity, green space per capita availability, their spatial distribution and typologies to determine whether they can provide the benefits of green spaces and identify potential sites for their expansion. The study integrated the theory of urban ecology with the concept of Garden City and Biophilic city. The study area was chosen purposively while stratified random sampling was used to select study sites. The research used remote sensing data from Google earth taken in July 2014 and Spatial Analysis tool in ArcGIS 10.1. The results revealed that the available green spaces cover 465,567 m2 an area equivalent to 26% of the total study area. Per capita green space was calculated based on 75% of the urban core population data for 2010. Results show that green space per capita for Eldoret CBD and its environs is 2.5m2. The various typologies of green spaces were identified and their proportions within the total study area found to be: riparian green 5%, urban block green 7.6%, park green 0.3%, residential green 6.7%, roadside green 1% and institutional green 5.9%. Proportions of green spaces within their respective land cover zones include riparian 53%, urban block 18.4%, institutional 31.3%, parks 32.9%, residential 39.7% and roadside 0.07%. Typologies show traditional green spaces and a lack of innovative green spaces such as vertical green spaces. Results also show that green spaces are concentrated at the periphery in areas dominated by residential houses and institutions as well as parks, leaving the inner core with limited green spaces. Though it meets the minimum standard set by Cohen at 20% green space of total area, its per capita green space is not proportional to the minimum universal standard of 9m2 per capita green space recommended by World Health Organization (WHO). This shows that the existing green spaces do not make significant contribution to urban life due to their uneven distribution across the study area and its low green space per capita availability. As a result there is need to increase green space coverage especially within the urban core that is highly concretized. A map showing potential sites of green space increase was produced. This includes riparian and road buffer as well as gaps within parks. Other innovative green space potential sites such as traffic islands and wall greening are recommended.