Grace W. Njoroge Kahura, Prof. Joe K. Kamaria


Purpose: The purpose the study was to investigate the social cultural and environmental related factors influencing the selection of areas of residence in Kenya in the case of Nairobi residents.

Methodology: The researcher used descriptive research design. The scope of the study was limited to Nairobi County. The study identified a population of 985,016 households in Nairobi County out of which a sample of 150 respondents were used. Random sampling technique was used to select the respondents from each category. The study used primary data that was collected using questionnaires. Data was analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). The data was then analysed in terms of descriptive statistics like frequencies and percentages.

Results: Results indicated that majority of the respondents found social-cultural factors such as safe neighborhood, relations with neighbors, nearness to family and friends, noise level, degree of crowding, size of household, social class and quality of schools in the neighborhood as being important while choosing their places of residence. The results indicated that the most important social cultural factor is quality of schools in the neighbourhood, followed by safety of neighbourhood, degree of crowding, and social class. The least ranked factors were relations with neighbors, community stability, nearness to family and friends, noise level, and size of household. Results indicated that majority of the respondents attached a lot of importance to environmental factors while choosing their places of residence since most of them disagreed with the statement that they would live in an area with poor drainage systems. On the other hand, majority of the respondents agreed to the statements that cleanliness of the neighborhood was important, running water is important, they would pay more for houses that conserve the environment such as energy-efficient housing, knowledge of the materials used to construct a house is necessary.

Unique contribution to theory, practice and policy: The study recommended that that social-cultural factors are very important aspects to consider when choosing place of residence. Therefore, it is advisable to take note of such factors as safe neighbourhood, degree of crowding among others before concluding on where to reside. It is also recommended that it would be significant to prioritize environmental factors such as drainage systems, availability of running water, and cleanliness of the neighbourhood among other environmental factors while concluding a decision on where to reside. It is also recommended that landlords should put into consideration such factors since majority of their potential tenants’ decision to reside in a given area will in most cases be influenced by such factors.

This Abstract was viewed 153 times | PDF Article downloaded 72 times


social cultural factors, environmental factors, selection, areas of residence

Full Text:



Banister, D. & Anable, J. (2009). Transport policies and climate change. In S. Dovoudi, J. Crawford and A.Mehmood (eds.), Planning for Climate Change: Strategies for Mitigation and Adaptation for Spatial Planning. London: Earthscan.

Bell, M.L, Ebisu. K., Belanger, K. (2007). Ambient air pollution and low birth weight in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Environ Health Perspect; 115(7):1118-1125.

Bellagio Study and Conference Center (2005). Setting the context: Kenya more than shelter: Housing as an instrument of economic and social development. A Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies International Housing Conference.

Bordone, V. (2009). Contact and proximity of older people to their adult children: A comparison between Italy and Sweden. Population, Space and Place, 15, 359-380.

Briggs, A., Burgess, S., McConnell B. & Slater H. (2006). School choice in England: Background facts. CMPO working paper, 06/159

Chiuri, M. C. & Del Boca D. (2010). Home-leaving decisions of daughters and sons. Review of Economics of the Household. 8, 398-408.

Chochran, W. G. (1963). Sampling Techniques (Third Edition.). Wiley. ISBN 0-471-16240-X.

Chow, G. C. & Niu, L. (2009). Demand and supply for residential housing in urban China. Princeton University and WISE, Xiamen University

Compton, J. & Pollak R. A. (2009). Proximity and coresidence of adult children and their parents: Description and correlates. Working paper, University of Michigan.

Compton, J., & Pollak R. A. (2007). Why are power couples increasingly concentrated in large metropolitan areas? Journal of Labor Economics, 25, 475-512.

Consuelo C. M. & Cruz M. M. (2008). Comparative analysis of the social. demographic and economic factors that influence housing choices in Spain in 1990 and 2000. Urban Studies. 45(4), 917-941.

Daily Bread Food Bank. (2002). Fact sheet: turning our backs on our children: hunger + decrepit housing = unhealthy, unsafe children. Toronto: Daily Bread Food Bank.

Dales, R., Burnett. R.T., Smith-Doiron. M., Stieb, D.M., Brook, J.R. (2004). Air pollution and sudden infant death syndrome. Pediatrics;113:628-631.

De Rosa, M., Zarrilli, S., Paesano, L., Carbone, U., Boggia, B., Petretta, M. (2003). Traffic pollutants affect fertility in men. Human Reprod;18:1055-1061.

Dennis, A. (1999). Place of worship supplementary planning. Guidance No,9. London Borough of Croydon.

Dunn J.R. (2002). A population health approach to housing: A Framework for Research. Ottawa: National Housing Research Committee and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Edlund, L. (2005). Sex and the city. Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 107, 25-44.

Fack, G. & Grenet J. (2007). Do better schools raise housing prices? Evidence from Paris School Zoning’,mimeo.

Frank (2012). Solution to provision of affordable housing in Kenya. January 2, 2012.

Gallent, N. & Kim K. (2001). The long run relationship between house prices and rents. Finance and Economics Discussion Series, No. 2004-50, Board of Governors of the federal Reserve System.

Golubchikov,O. & Badyina A. (2012). Sustainable housing for sustainable cities a policy framework for developing countries, UN-Habitat.

Hank, K. (2007). Proximity and contacts between older parents and their children: A European comparison. Journal of Marriage and Family, 69, 157-173.

Hills, J., Le Grand, J. & Piachaud, D. (eds) (2002). Understanding social exclusion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hoek, G., Meliefste, K., Cyrys. J, Lewne, M., Bellander, T., Brauer M. (2002). Spatial variability of fine particle concentrations in three European areas. Atmosphere Environ;36:4077-4088.

Hunt, B., & Badia, M. (2005). United Kingdom: Selected issues. IMF Country Report, No. 05/81

Lee R.E. & Cubbin C. (2002). Neighborhoods context and youth cardiovascular health behaviors. Am J Public Health 92(3):428-36.

Leinberger C.B. (2005). Turning around downtown: Twelve steps to revitalization. Metropolitan Policy Program. The Brookings Institution.

Li, L. H. (2009). Community attachment and housing choice in Hong Kong. Property Management, 2009, Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 42-57.

Loken, K., Lommerud, K., & Lundberg, S. (2011). Your place or mine? On the residence choice of young couples in Norway, Discussion Paper No. 5685.

Longley, I. D., Gallagher, M. W., Dorsey J. R., Flynn, M., Bower, K. N., & Allan, J. D. (2004). Street canyons aerosol pollutant transport measurements. Sci Total Environ;334-335:327-336.

Macintyre S., Ellaway A. (2003). Neighborhoods and health: An overview in: Kawachi L., Berkman L.F.,eds. Neighborhoods and Health. Oxford University Press, New York 20-42.

Majumdar, S. (2010). More and more kids falling prey to asthma in Bangalore. DNA. (Available at

Matrix Consultants (1998). Inventory of Nairobi Slum.

Mazingira Institute. (1993). The information presented on various aspects of the city of Nairobi in graphs, charts and maps. Paper presented to Nairobi City Convention, 27-29 July, Charter Hall, Nairobi, Kenya.

Mumford L. (1955). The roaring traffic’s boom. The New Yorker

Pastor, Jr. M. (2001). Geography and opportunity, National Research Council, Smelser NJ, Wilson WJ, Mitchell F, eds. America Becoming: Racial Trends and Their Consequences.Vol 1. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press: 435-468.

Pattenden, S., Hoek, G., Braun-Fahrlander, C., Forastiere, F., Kosheleva, A., Neuberger, M. (2006). NO2 and children’s respiratory symptoms in the PATY study. Occup Environ Med;63:828-835

Peace, H., Owen B., & Raper D.W. (2004). Identifying the contribution of different urban highway air pollution sources. Sci Total Environ; 334-335:347-357Pollak, R. A. (1989). The Theory of the Cost of Living Index, New York: Oxford University Press.

Pratt, B., & Loizos, P. (1992). Choosing research methods- data collection for development

Rainer, H., & Siedler ,T. (2009). O brother, where art Thou? The effects of having a sibling on geographic mobility and labour market outcomes. Economica, 76.

Richardson, L. & Le Grand, J. (2002). Outsider and insider expertise: The response of residents of deprived neighborhoods to an academic definition of social exclusion. Social Policy and Administration, 36(5):496-515

Roback, J. (1982). Wages, rents and the quality of life. Journal of Political Economy, December 1982,1257-78

Rubinowitz, L. S. & James E. R. (2000). Crossing the class and color lines: From public housing to white suburbia. Chicago: University of Chicago Press

Sampson, R (2002). Assessing neighborhood effects: Social processes and new directions in research. Annu Rev Sociol.28:443-478.

Sarnat, J. A., Holguin, F. (2007). Asthma and air quality. Curr Opin Pulm Med; 13:63-66

Scott W. A. (2007). Mismatches and unmet need: Access to social services in urban and rural America. National Poverty Center Working Paper Series, no. 07-14, June 2007.

Sirgy, M. J., Grzeskowiak, S. & Su, C. (2005). Explaining housing preference and choice: The role of self-congruity and functional congruity. Journal of Housing and the Built Environment, Vol. 20, No. 4pp. 329- 347. ,

Sram R. J, Binkova, B., Dejmek, J., Bobak, M. (2005). Ambient air pollution and outcomes: a review of the literature. Environ Health Perspect 113:375-382.

Sunyer, J., Jarvis, D., Gotschi, T., Garcio-Esteban, R., Jacquemin, B., Aguilera, I. (2006). Chronic bronchitis and urban air pollution in an international study. Occup EnvironMed; 63:836-843

Sweetser, D. A. (1963). Asymmetry in intergenerational family relationships. Social Forces, 41, 346-352.

UNCHS (2003). Rental Housing: An essential option for the urban poor in developing countries. Nairobi: UN-Habitat.

UN-Habitat (2006). State of the World Cities 2006-2007. Earthscan/United Nations Human Settlements Program.

UN-Habitat (2011a). Condominium Housing in Ethiopia: The Integrated Housing Development Programme. Nairobi: United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat).

Wandeler, D. K. (2006). Lessons from rental housing. Paper presented at the International Symposium on Architecture and Housing Rights, held at the School for Architecture and Design, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Bangkok, 31 May-3 June 2006

Winkleby, M., Cubbin, C., Ahn, D. (2006). Effect of cross-level interaction between individual and neighborhood socioeconomic status on adult mortality rates. Am J Public Health; 96(12):2145-2153.

Wood R. (2008). Where we live matters for our health: Neighborhoods and health, commission to build a healthier America. workers. Oxford: Oxfam publications.

World Health Organization (2008). Air quality and health. WHO online article.(Available at

Wu W. P. (2006). Migrant intra-urban residential mobility in Urban China. Housing Studies, Vol. 21, No. 5, pp. 745-765

Zeka, A., Zanobetti, A., Schwartz, J. (2005). Short term effects of particulate matter on cause specific mortality: Effects of lags and modification by city characteristics. Occup Environ Med; 62:718-725.



Paper submission email:

This journal follows ISO 9001 management standard and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Copyright ©