Everyone has a neighborhood they swear by. Some like their neighborhoods so much that they never veer too far away from it. They live there as students then upgraded in proportion to the changing status. They will even find a way to stay once they have a family. Finding a neighborhood that feels so much like home is actually not hard. You might have to try a few hoods until you find the one but you will always find it. In that sense, finding a hood is like finding a soulmate. You might find the one at the first try but in some cases you have to try a few out. Below are qualities of a good hood.
You want a home you can get to easily. You will want a hood you can get to in relatively good time after work and safely after a wild night out. You want a hood that gets public transport services, at all hours of the day preferably. You want a hood with good roads so that when you buy your first car you will not lose it in a pothole. Most neighborhoods in Nairobi are accessible now and have public transport service. This widens the pool of choices for you which is great.
No one likes to be late for work. Not just because the boss will ream you but because it puts the entire day in disarray. You will feel disorganized all through out the day and that could even spill over into the next day depending on your kind of job. So you want to live someplace close enough to work that you have a short commute but also affordable enough that you do not break the bank. So think about traffic. Which roads are notorious for traffic? For example you cannot choose to live in Githurai but work at Sameer Business Park. You would suffer traffic whether you used Outering Road, went through town or used the Eastern bypass.
The great thing about Nairobi is that she opens her arms to everyone regardless of their financial standing. Are you a millionaire or do you simply get by? You will always find a house you can afford. Do you research and find the neighborhood that is more suited to your pocket. Note that your rent should never surpass a third of your income. You should also find a neighborhood where the cost of living is relatively low. For example, an apple at Village Market will definitely not cost the same as one at Powerstar in Zimmerman. Similarly fare to Roslyn is approximately 70 shillings. Fare is the same to Zimmerman despite the distances being fairly different. If you keep this in mind then you will survive pretty nicely.
Surely you want to avoid a hood where you will come home from work to find your house burglarized 3 out of 7 days a week. You also want to avoid a place where even Uber drivers will not go after 10.00 PM. There is no place in Nairobi that is completely safe. However, some hoods really do push the envelope. For example, in Kariobangi, if you walk about at 8.00 pm you must avert your eyes and ears. If someone you know mugs you, you cannot say their name or you risk losing your life along with your wallet and bread.
These are facilities in a neighborhood that make living there that much easier and enjoyable. Say like hospitals and schools. You need a neighborhood with all sorts of amenities. You will need a hospital not because you plan on being sick often but just so emergencies cam be handled in a timely manner. If you have children, you will need good schools nearby. This will ensure that your children do not have to be up at the crack of dawn to make it to 8.00 am classes about colors and letters. Accessibility to amenities also means that you will be able to get certain services locally and quite possibly cheaply.
You should also find a place with a bit of entertainment. Note that the level and kind of entertainment you need varies with different levels in life. For example, as a young man who is only starting out you can live in Madaraka shopping Centre which is a hub of entertainment spots. However, as you grow older and start a family you will want to move further down to Akila estate or the Madaraka flats.
This is only relevant if you are close to starting a family or already have. You want a neighborhood where your child can play and grow up in a wholesome environment. Some may not have this luxury but if you do, be grateful and take advantage of it. Avoid neighborhoods where the children have a high likelihood of getting in with the wrong kind of people.
A good neighborhood is diverse. It will allow people who are only starting out, others who have been in it for a while as well as those who sit up high. One such neighborhood is South B. You can live in an SQ as a student. You can move to a one bedroom apartment still in the same hood. Once you have your family and are earning enough, you can move into a nice house in Golden Gate estate. There is something about being around people who are in higher places than you are that encourages and challenges you. While you live in the SQ you will look up to the apartment buildings and work towards living there. Such an environment allows for growth.
You may add to this list with some personal preferences. Do not stop looking until you find a neighborhood that feels like home for you. Being home will do wonders for your psychological and mental health. You will be happier just being there. Happy hunting!