Urban Poverty Traps: Neighbourhoods and Violent Victimisation and Offending in Nairobi, Kenya

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This project examines violent victimisation and offending in poor urban neighbourhoods in Nairobi, Kenya. Using data from the 2000 Nairobi Cross-sectional Slum Survey (NCSS), the study assesses neighbourhood characteristics utilising the foundation from US-based neighbourhood effect research. Results from multilevel models demonstrate that social disorganisation theory and neighbourhood effect research can work as a framework for studying neighbourhood-level processes and public safety in the rapidly urbanising region of sub-Saharan Africa. However, important exceptions exist. A robust and positive relationship between residential stability and violent victimisation by strangers was found. This relationship between residential stability and personal victimisation, in addition to a positive association between household-level residential stability and family violence, shows support for the negative effects associated with poverty traps in urban Africa. Neighbourhood characteristics matter for public safety in Nairobi, but frameworks for examining neighbourhood effects must consider the context of chronically poor neighbourhoods in urban Africa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1812-1832
Number of pages21
JournalUrban Studies
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Nairobi
  • neighbourhood
  • neighbourhood effects
  • sub-Saharan Africa
  • urban poverty
  • urbanisation and developing countries
  • violence


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