Remaking a Frontier Town: Anticipating Property in Northern Kenya

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Abstract

In spite of its geographical positioning at the heart of Kenya, Isiolo has long been imagined as a border town. Isiolo marked the end of the fertile ‘high potential’ region of the Kenyan colony’s central highlands, crucial to the white settler economy. In contrast, the arid desert lowlands that lay beyond Isiolo town were considered ‘low potential’ by the colonial government: unprofitable and unworthy of appropriation or development. After independence, the region continued to be largely ignored when it came to the provision of infrastructure or services. Isiolo town, marking the interface between a ‘Kenya B’ and the nation ‘proper’, was known as mwisho wa lami: the end of the tarmac.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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