Suburban pastoralists: Pastoral adaptation strategies at the rural-urban interface in Nairobi, Kenya
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How does urban expansion interact with pastoral climate change adaptation? This article explores pastoral adaptation strategies at the rural-urban interface. It examines how Maasai pastoralists in peri-urban Nairobi, Kenya, respond to climate hazards in the context of urban expansion, land use change, and land privatisation. Using mixed-method research, the study is informed by a household survey (n = 72), 38 qualitative interviews, and 12 focus group discussions. Drawing on the literature on climate change adaptation, pastoral change, and peri-urban dynamics, we find that while urban expansion provides significant challenges for pastoral livelihoods in the study area, pastoralists also engage new opportunities in the peri-urban context and employ them in their adaptation strategies. We show how adaptation strategies related to mobility, diversification, market exchange, and storage are employed through a variety of efforts including engagement with urban land markets and demand for livestock products, and by capitalising on proximity to transport, trading facilities, water, and commercial fodder. Communal pooling, another adaptation strategy, is less used and perceived to be in decline. We further find that historical land ownership patterns play a significant role in adaptation strategies, as pastoralists who have benefitted from rangeland privatisation are able to convert high peri-urban land values into private rural land access and investments in, e.g. diversification. Poor households are in a more precarious position but draw on informal agreements to access land as part of their adaptation strategies. Our findings highlight how pastoral households at the rural-urban interface may draw actively on peri-urban opportunities in their adaptation strategies as part of their efforts to enhance livelihoods, and in so doing bridge peri-urban and rural space. More broadly, our study highlights the importance of understanding pastoral climate change adaptation in the context of wider changes in livelihoods, land use, and land rights, rather than as isolated actions.
|Number of pages||16|
|Publication status||Published - 2023|
- Climate change adaptation, Urbanisation, Land use change, Land rights, Maasai, GROUP RANCH SUBDIVISION, KAJIADO DISTRICT, ENVIRONMENTAL-CHANGE, LIVELIHOODS, RESILIENCE, PATHWAYS, DROUGHT, WEALTH, LAND
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