The winner of the first prize of a competition organized by UN-HABITAT in collaboration with the Government of Finland was Ms. Maria Klemetz, who will get a one-week trip to Kenya. She was followed closely by Ari Ahoren, Yoshitaka Oshima and Felix Gomez Pousa whose joint entry was second.
UN-HABITAT Deputy Executive Director Daniel Biau (extreme right) assists Finnish Ambassador to Kenya H.E. Matti Kaariainen in opening the winning entry. Looking on is the director of UN-HABITAT Global Division Lars Reutersward
The aim of the competition was to generate “ideas” from both Kenyan and Finnish students of architecture, physical planning and industrial design on the Sustainable Neighborhood Programme in Mulolongo area of Mavoko municipality on the outskirts of Nairobi.
Its objective was to present innovative and sustainable urban solutions in terms of affordability, ecology and socio-cultural integration. The competition also aimed at producing different approaches in town planning, innovative design of housing and technical solutions for the urban poor.
At a ceremony held at the UN-HABITAT headquarters and presided over by the Finnish Ambassador to Kenya, His Excellency Matti Kaariainen, and the Deputy Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, Mr. Daniel Biau, the students were praised for their impressive work.
The participating institutions were Helsinki University of Technology, Tampere University of Technology, University of Oulu, University of Art and Design, Helsinki, all in Finland; and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya.
Speaking during the occasion, Ambassador Kaariainen stated that if the Millennium Development Goals on slum upgrading were to be met, then it was critical to encourage young architects from Finland and Kenya to provide interesting and creative new ideas. He further hoped that more Kenyan architects would take up the challenge of designing pro-poor shelter and housing.
Mr. Biau praised the Government of Finland for its long-standing support for UN-HABITAT’s activities, especially in the quest to provide adequate shelter for low income earners. He also called for more competitions to allow even Kenyan students studying outside the country to participate. This would involve extensive publicity campaigns so that as many students as possible get to know about the competition.
Also speaking at the occasion, a representative of the Ministry of Lands and Housing of the Republic of Kenya, Mr. Cassisus Kushenya, said that he was very impressed with the competition. He thanked UN-HABITAT and the Government of Finland for creating interest in students in the quest for solutions to the problems of urbanization.
The Global Division, and the Regional Office for Africa and Arab States of UN-HABITAT organized the competition.