Our project studied parks located in Kampala. We found in many areas of the city, especially the outer regions where the slum and informal settlements are located, that children do not have easy walking access to parks and playgrounds. Our current study is examining these under-served areas and will use the information to advocate for better, safer play spaces where children can walk.
Available public parks and quality in Kampala capital city, Uganda
In 2014 we commenced on a project to raise awareness about the availability and quality of public open spaces in Uganda’s capital, Kampala. The project started with a study identifying, describing and mapping available public parks in Kampala capital city area. The study also described and examined the quality of the park experiences for users. Key findings indicate, that for a city of three million people, the 14 available public parks are too few to provide the majority of city residents with access within reasonable walking distance to their homes. The shortage particularly affects low-income city dwellers living in informal settlements and slums as these areas of the city were much less likely to have a public park. Commercial developers continue to encroach on the available public space. A shortage of user facilities such as playgrounds and access sidewalks is a major drawback at the majority of the parks. The shortage of public parks affects all residents, but particularly children who don’t have safe places to play and be active.
Informal places children play in Kampala capital city slums.
As a result of the initial study, we wanted to learn and understand where children in the slums of the city were playing and determine the condition of those places. Discourse and plans to improve the city tends to ignore low-income city dwellers. Following up on the findings that low income city dwellers have less access to public parks in the city, NICC is in 2015 carrying out another study on the informal places children play in in the capital city’s sprawling slums. The study hopes to identify and describe the quality of the informal play places. The results will help us advocate for an environment that would provide better spaces for the children to play and be physically active.
Following our informal play spaces study, we intend to assess the pedestrian environment to determine the safety and quality issues that might prevent or deter people from walking to public parks, workplaces, schools, and fresh food markets. We strongly believe that public awareness on the importance of physical activity can only make sense if the supportive environment is in place.
About the NICC
The Non-communicable Diseases Information and Control Centre (NICC) advocates for prevention and control of chronic diseases. Though research, information and advocacy, NICC promotes a supportive environment for physical activity and health in urban areas.