Poor planning, Lack of Flexibility behind Failure of City Master Plan – Experts

Part of Kigali City. The Master Plan is being updated.

Experts have attributed lack of flexibility, failure to engage citizens and lack of land for development infrastructure as key hiccups that led to revision of Kigali City master plan.

In 2013, the Government hired a team of Singaporean planners to design and lead the city master plan. However, five years down the road, the master plan has been put on hold – following several missing dots in its design.

Top on the biggest issues discovered in the master plan was, among others, “failure to consider daily living standards of citizens” – experts warned.

On September 15 this year, the City of Kigali announced a new journey to review and update the 2013 City Master Plan to make it “citizen-centered”.

By April next year, officials in City of Kigali say, the new revised master plan will be up and running.

The same team from Singapore has been called in to update the master plan.

This time, the team has been tasked to consider city residents’ ideas on the city they wish to see in the future in accordance with Rwanda’s vision 2050.

In a consultative meeting held at City hall on Wednesday this week, consultants and City officials and stakeholders mostly experts from governments and private sector institutions were briefly taken through the new master plan design.

Enrico Moriello – Master Plan Update Project Coordinator, said that one of the challenges they have identified include the fact that the City of Kigali does not have land for development infrastructure and lack of flexibility in the master plan implementation.

“Many people are not willing to be relocated; so we need space, we need to start addressing the former settlement issues with creative ways without necessarily relocating people,” he advised why presenting comments they have collected.

Moriello added that where it is necessary, expropriation issues are technical issues that should be dealt with at the political level.

Other challenges he mentioned were identified include lack of financial resources required for the master plan implementation, and poor coordination.

While consultants want to review the master plan in a way that Kigali becomes an inclusive city of excellence which is “a unique, green and dynamic city for all” by 2050, participants advised them to consider social, economic and cultural aspects of Rwandans in designing settlements.

“I am hoping that the new master plan will be very elaborate on considering aspects to do with commercial viability, financial landscape and other specific issues to deal with such as parking ratios which is one of the challenges we are currently facing,” Joshua Ishimwe – one of the participants said.

Consultants were also advised to consider water and electricity systems and the sewage system in the master plan, but also talk to financial institutions and developers as well as tenants to include their inputs since they are the main people who will help in its implementation.

During her campaigns, City of Kigali Mayor Marie Chantal Rwakazina promised more attention on ample recreational options in the city and a city that meets citizens’ living standards during her term.

“Recreational parks and basing the master plan on people’s living conditions were part of the previous master plan, the weakness was only on its implementation,” she told KT Press last week.

Regarding the availability of land for infrastructure, Fred Mugisha – Kigali City engineer told KT Press that Kigali has started securing land.

For instance, Mugisha said, the city buys 20 hectares of land every year reserved for infrastructure and investors.

Meanwhile, participants in the consultative meeting also raised an issue of Kigali City losing young residents to neighboring districts especially Bugesera and Rwamagana, raising a worry that in the near future Kigali may be abandoned to foreigners and some few rich people.




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