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From unplanned settlement to new housing development in Kigali city: the case study of Amahoro cell, Muhima sector

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par John MUGISHA
National University of Rwanda - Bachelor's degree 2011

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4.6 Impact of new housing policies on unplanned settlement dwellers

4.6.1 Positive impacts

Housing development in Kigali city according to the master plan will greatly change its image and the living conditions of its citizens. The implementation will lead to the dissolution of slums and upgrading of informal settlements. Poorly developed prime land will be redeveloped to maximize investments hence economic growth. Also land use zoning will allow maximum and efficient use of land while giving Kigali city an aesthetic physical structure.

According to the surveyed residents in Amahoro cell, they expect improved lifestyle as a result of new housing development. Some of them said that when expropriated they will buy land and practice agriculture which will help to improve their living conditions. Others said that expropriation of their properties for new housing development will help them buy new houses of their choice.

Kigali city officials emphasized the accommodation of a fast growing population of Kigali that will result from the development of apartments and zoning specific areas for residential use, industrial or commercial uses. According to the personnel in charge of social affairs in Muhima sector, the construction of apartments will shelter many families on a small surface area than it is for detached houses. One of the officials in Rwanda housing authority in urban planning unit said that planned housing development will ease the provision of infrastructures such as roads, water supply, electricity connections and development of the green spaces. He further added that planned settlements will lead to better land management and efficient waste evacuation systems.

4.6.2 Negative impacts

On the side of the Kigali city council, the implementation of the new housing development as stipulated in the master plan is a fruitful result. However, on the side of informal settlement dwellers especially those on prime land that is targeted for redevelopment are worrisome because they are susceptible to relocation. To these residents, resettlement will affect their livelihood because they will be taken far from the city centre where they can earn a living through casual labor and where they easily get to their work.

Asked on what they think would be the negative impacts on their livelihoods if expropriated, surveyed households in Amahoro cell revealed that they are worried about the expropriation prices. 48% of the respondents said that they will not be able to reintegrate themselves in the new area once they are under-expropriated. They further added that buying a new plot and erecting a new house is expensive.

The rest of the respondents gave the following as negative impacts once expropriated: they said `we would be relocated to an area far from the city centre which may increase transport costs since our jobs are in the city centre'. Others said that `we initiated long term projects; these may be affected negatively once we are relocated to a different place'. However, most of them showed reluctance in their mind towards relocation saying that it is not easy to admit to shift without knowing where to go, and that separating with friends is not easily welcomed.

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