Malindi’s futures. challenges and potentials of anticipating future visions through scenario planning

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
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Malindi town (population 110,000) located along the Indian Ocean coast is the largest urban center in Kilifi county, Kenya. The town's economy focuses heavily on tourism. Rapid tourism development during the 1970s and 1980s has a significant social, economic and cultural impact on the local community. Furthermore, rapid urban growth combined with Malindi's lack of urban planning regulations has led to deficient urban development decisions. In the recent decade, tourism in Malindi has declined considerably, leaving the town in socioeconomic downfall. Numerous resorts are now closed, and an alarming amount of locals find themselves unemployed and without proper training. The first strategic urban development plan for Malindi was finalized in 2016, focusing primarily on land use regulations and infrastructure development strategies. Although it acknowledges the imperative need for Malindi to diversify its economy, the current urban development plan lacks a holistic vision. This thesis explores how scenario planning can be used to create a compelling future vision for Malindi, which would shape the urban development of the town. It uses literature review for understanding the context, analysis for recognizing the current challenges and opportunities, theoretical review for arguing the use of scenario planning, and lastly, scenario making for presenting the scenario planning methodology. The purpose of this work is to demonstrate the usability of scenario planning and to build knowledge regarding scenario making. Four scenarios are formed based on research and analysis. They all aim at generating urban rejuvenation; integrating local culture, values, and traditions; raising the quality of life; and empowering local communities towards economic growth. In the first two scenarios, Malindi recognizes the current decline in international touristic interest as an opportunity to redirect its strategy towards attracting more Kenyan and East African visitors. The first scenario focuses on integrating informal communities, supporting the development of local businesses, and emphasizing local culture and values. The second scenario focuses on environmental sustainability, green economic growth, and building a circular economy based on agro-industrial ecological development. The third scenario focuses on improving the livelihoods of the suburban communities and building human capacity and describes Malindi's development following the support of agricultural entrepreneurship. The final scenario explores how Malindi urban fabric develops if the local government continues to strive to attract international tourism while pursuing economic growth by supporting commerce and services. The future opportunities that emerge from the four scenarios provide meaningful insight into viable possibilities for future development of Malindi.
Lapintie, Kimmo
Thesis advisor
Hewidy, Hossam
unplanned tourism development, unplanned urban development, futures studies, scenario planning, urbanization, strategic planning, Malindi
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