Construction of Kenya's first eco-city - a residential settlement that is environmentally, socially, economically and culturally self-sustaining - has commenced on the outskirts of Mombasa, with the first phase expected to be ready for occupation by the third quarter of this year.
The whole project will take four to five years to complete.
Going by the name Hacienda, the development, located in the Mwakirunge area of the North Coast, off the Mombas-Malindi highway, will have 6,250 housing units - of two- and three-bedroom flats, and three- and four bedroom bungalows - to be developed in 10 phases.
The plan also includes a hospital, school, playgrounds and recreation facilities, a police station, commercial centres and office blocks, among other vital amenities.
According to Urban Ecology Australia, a non-profit organisation promoting people- and nature-friendly urban settlements, an eco-city is a human settlement that enables its residents to live a quality life while using minimal natural resources.
David Muniu, a director at Hacienda Development Holdings said, "Hacienda has been designed to improve the image and function of Mombasa as a vibrant, modern and environmentally sustainable city in Africa."
Hacienda Development Holdings, the developers of Hacienda say the design of the buildings will make best use of the sun, wind and rainfall to supply the energy and water needs of the residents.
The project's design include the development of wetlands to harvest, biologically treat, and recycle runoff water for household use, a solar/wind power station, and the planting of 10,000 trees.
So far, the developers say they have signed an agreement with the African Conservation Trust for the establishment of a tree nursery on Hacienda's Mwakirunge project.