The Alchemist is a good place, but is less integrated...

The Alchemist is a good place but is less integrated…


I generally don’t stay in a hotel in Nairobi, but I stayed in one during TICAD Nairobi as Mpho and I needed a place to stay near KICC where the TICAD VI was held. And we actually did stay in a hotel in CBD where is considered not the safest place in Nairobi (don’t tell anyone!). Actually, the hotel itself was decent (value-for-money), and staff was quite friendly while I am quite certain no Japanese businessmen or diplomats had ever stayed there because of the location.

Obviously, we did all we needed to do to make sure we are safe (which is basically not walking around at night) and we were safe and all. But being in the sketchy neighborhood for several days made me think of new business ideas to create a safer neighborhood.

I am in no way professional in this area, but I believe that the keys to increasing safety in a neighborhood are increasing diversity and decreasing anonymity. In other words, an integrated community may create a more peaceful and secure neighborhood. Instead of gentrifying an area by renovating and creating buildings, we need to design a space around people who already exist there to nurture interaction among themselves.

I wonder if we can create a space, ideally, a multi-purpose creative open space that houses hotel/restaurant/coffee shop/event space/workshop space in the middle of CBD where there are already constant traffic, but no one really stays. I know few places similar to what I have in my mind is popping around the world. They are mostly accommodations but the space is open to the local community. What if Maki & Mpho can create a space like that where we can share our brand stories using multiple media while making the community safer!

As I was thinking about how we can create a space that is not just for richer locals and foreign tourists, I thought of the Hostel Village in Yokohama’s rather ghetto-like space where former day laborers on welfare are gathering. An entrepreneur, Mr. Okabe, created a hostel to bring in young people and budget tourists to the area and changed the atmosphere and environment. Together with a group of friends, I used to go there to test some projects together with Mr. Okabe to bring in more diverse people.

This idea has to be explored with my Kenyan partners…

ナイロビでは、普通はホテルには滞在しないのですが、TICAD VIの際は、会場のKICCに近いところにデザイナーとステイする必要があったので、ホテルに滞在しました。(内緒ですが)ホテルといっても、実はCBDの中でも、エリアとしてはあまり治安がよくないとされている場所にステイしていました。実際は、ホテルは悪くなく、スタッフもよく対応してくれたのですが、場所が場所なので、日本のビジネスマンや外交官は絶対に宿泊しないだろうなと思います。



ちょっと思ったのは、すでに通行人の行き来が多いけれど、そこに留まっている人は多くないようなナイロビCBDのど真ん中に、クリエイティブな空間を創れたらどうなるだろうかと妄想してみました。ホテルやカフェ、ワークスペース、SHOP、イベントスペースやワークショップなどが一体したような空間。こういったオープンなホテル的なコンセプトは、世界各地で今注目されてきているコンセプトな気がします。宿泊施設がコアですが、地域に対してオープンなようなスペースです。Maki & Mphoがナイロビでそういったコンセプト空間をプロデュースできたら、ブランドストーリーの発信拠点として活用しながら、地域の治安改善にも貢献できるのでは!?(妄想が続きます)