Public Spaces in Kampala, Uganda

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Public Spaces in Kampala, Uganda



The number of safe, accessible and enjoyable public spaces in Ugandan cities is steadily decreasing, while the public increasingly demands that governments create and maintain public spaces. However, without a clear strategic vision, many city governments lack the resources and capacity to develop public spaces to meet these demands. The streets in Kampala face a number of challenges including being small in size, heavy pedestrian and traffic congestion especially in the Central Business District, traffic collisions, rapid urbanization and motorization, various informal vendors who do business on the streets without proper support and lack of safe and well-designed walking and cycling facilities. Markets in Uganda’s urban centers serve the communities in numerous ways, including acting as a main trading centre where people can earn a living, creating social spaces in neighbourhoods for locals to meet and interact with one another, and linking rural and urban communities. Where markets are available, the conditions in many are chronically unacceptable, resulting in many consumers resorting to alternative sources of food. The management of some of these markets is poor, waste management is neglected, and members of the public are unaware of the benefits of a safe, comfortable and easily accessible market.

Our local partner, Advocates for Public Spaces (APS), is working with local and national governments on improving the situation for quality and quantity of public spaces including:

  • Streets that support walking and cycling
  • Local public markets that provide access to healthy, fresh, local food
  • Open public spaces such as parks that provide people with recreation opportunities.

Street market in Kampala
Street market in Kampala


Further Details

The two studies found that informal open spaces are critical components of residents' access to recreational space in the city. Unfortunately, our findings point to a shortage of open spaces in Kampala Capital City.


Expected Results

Expected results include:

  • Improved quality of public spaces
  • Increased number of people being able to access public spaces, especially those typically disadvantaged
  • Improved walkability of the streets surround neighbourhood open spaces
  • Increased number of destinations people are able to walk
  • Increased ability of vendors to sell their goods on the street by better integrating them into the pedestrian network
  • Improved quality of local markets
  • Increased number of people using local public markets.