Owiti K'Akuma

Research Title: The business environment of artisanal dimension stone in Nairobi, Kenya

Director of Studies: Brian Jones
Second Supervisor: Dr Junli Yang
Starting Date and Mode of Study: 2006 Full-Time

Thesis Synopsis

This research concerns the enabling environment of artisanal dimension stone in Nairobi, Kenya in order to identify the “the drivers and stoppers” of the production and use of dimension stone in the study area. The study relies on the general system theory promulgated by Ludwig von Bertalanffy to analyse the enabling environment composed of socio-technical systems that include the political, economic, social, ecological, legal and technological environments. Analysing the enabling environment from this socio-technical perspective will allow the study to inform policy development regarding the production and use of artisanal dimension stone. Therefore the main question in this study is: What are the socio-technical elements behind the production and use of artisanal dimension stone and how do they interrelate? Consequently, the main aim of the study is: to investigate the interrelationships of the socio-technical forces (variables) influencing the production of artisanal dimension stone for use in building construction within the city of Nairobi. To analyse the enabling environment, the study applies key informant interviews, ethnography (participant observation and unstructured interviews) and structured interviews as methods of primary data collection. The study also relies on secondary data concerning the business environment of artisanal dimension stone. The research will contribute to the literature on dimension stone in general, especially concerning the socio-technical aspects. Further the research will contribute to the literature on artisanal building materials from a developing country perspective.