Government on Friday unveiled the long-awaited vision of the capital Kigali that the country should have in 2050 – modifying the one first adopted more than 10 years ago.
At a less eventful function in Kigali presided over by Infrastructure Minister Claver Gatete, the Kigali Master Plan 2050 was released. The quiet function was probably due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2008, the Kigali Conceptual Master Plan, designed by US firm Oz Architects, billed at the time as the ‘Singapore model’, first saw the light.
Actually, the American conceptual model, was followed up with detailed area plans by both Oz and a Singaporean firm, Surbana. The plans are spectacular: slum areas are re-envisaged as ecological theme parks and commercial districts, while Rebero Hill in south Kigali is reimagined as a tourist haven featuring 900-room hotels.
A model of that envisaged city was on display at the Kigali City headquarters, turning into one of the places that tour guides sold to tourists for a visit.
However, over the course of proceeding years, the model, it turned out, ignored the country’s dynamics; such as the fact that the country is still extremely poor and densely populated.
There was also no popular involvement in the development of the 2008 concept plan. It was largely what the politicians and urban architects had in their minds, that was reflected in the final product.
The new Kigali 2050 Master Plan is a product of nearly five years of consultations. Last year, officials moved through Kigali’s villages asking for comments of what the ordinary Kigalian wants the city to look like.
A recent study showed that at least 58% of people in Kigali city earn less than Rwf 100,000 ($104) a month – a very small amount even by Rwandan standards. Though these incomes will of course rise, they give idea of what government planners have to expect in the coming decades.
By 2050, Kigali’s population is expected to reach 3.8m, more than double current number.
To accommodate all these people, the vast majority of whom will still have low incomes, an estimated 859,000 residential houses have to be built by 2050, according to government estimates.
The new Master Plan, also comes as government is implementing the $5billion so called green city, with state-of-the-art futuristic non-concrete neighborhoods.
To set in motion the Master Plan implementation, already all people in wetlands have been forced out – sometimes through crude measures. One iconic area is the Gikondo Industrial Area, where factories and warehouses were located for decades, is today completely empty. The plan is turn it into an artificial lake.
To view the Kigali 2050 Master Plan, CLICK HERE