7 May 2012

Rwanda: Kigali City Calls for Input On Master Plan

The City of Kigali has called on different stakeholders to provide input, comments and suggestions on the ongoing development of the detailed city master plan. The call was made last week during the presentation of the vision for the detailed physical plans for Kicukiro and Gasabo districts.

The presentations were made in three different meetings convened by Kigali officials and Surbana, the consulting firm that has been tasked to develop the city master plan. It had already completed the detailed planning of Nyarugenge District in early 2010, which included the urban design for Kigali's Central Business District.

The meetings, presided over by Alphonse Nizeyimana the vice-mayor in charge of Finance and Economic Planning and Liliane Mupende, the Director of Urban Planning and One Stop Centre, attracted mayors and city councilors from Gasabo and Kicukiro districts, investors, developers, architects, students and as well as representatives from the police and the army. The Mayor of Kigali, Fidele Ndayisaba, made a public appeal to all Rwandans and the different stakeholders to participate in the development process by submitting their impressions of the master plans.

"We are planning the city for people and therefore we need their input for consideration during the development process," Nizeyimana said. "We have heard some people are a little skeptical saying we are too ambitious on the development of the city master plan, but if you read the story of countries that have succeeded in sustainable approaches to urbanization, you will find that there was first a vision, which the country believed in and pushed for and later achieved. We also have a vision for Kigali City and we should achieve it with everyone's input."

According to Surbana, Kigali should be developed into a well branded "Centre of Urban Excellence in Africa" with enchanting nature, green transport, affordable homes, sustainable resource management, local identity and character, vibrancy and diversity.

Currently it is proposed that Gasabo would be the conference, civic and recreational centre of the Kigali City while Kicukiro would be developed as a sports, research and institutional hub with an expo park and wetland bio-diversity park.

"If you read the story of countries that have succeeded in sustainable urbanization, you will find that there was first a vision."

The consultants also presented two options for discussion on whether Kigali City should implement the linear or radial branching pattern in the process of its development. Each pattern has several advantages. For example, the radial city concept ensures securing adequate of land for future growth in a planned manner, protects city density by diverting traffic from the city center and protection of green areas by encouraging high density development along radial axes. The linear city concept builds upon the current development trend by creating a high-density growth corridor along the airport road.

Currently the whole city, which is 731 km2, has a population of about 1.3 million and a household size of 4.8. It is expected that the city population would grow to about 2.9 million in 2025 and probably 5 million in long term. About 17% of the city is currently urban land, 50% used for agriculture and the rest being steep slopes and nature areas. The master plan aims to curtail urbanization to 35% so as to preserve all natural assets and create a compact city structure.

Surbana International Consultants completed the detailed planning of Nyarugenge District, in early 2010, which included the detailed urban design for Kigali's Central Business District. In October 2011, through a public tender, the City of Kigali awarded the 'Design of Detailed District Physical Plans for Kicukiro and Gasabo' to Surbana.

This project was officially launched on the 3rd of February 2012.

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