From unplanned settlement to new housing development in Kigali city: the case study of Amahoro cell, Muhima sector
par John MUGISHA
National University of Rwanda - Bachelor's degree 2011
As the main objective of this research was to assess the challenges in the transition from unplanned settlement to new housing development in Kigali city, variables such as residents' perception and awareness were measured against expropriation policy in line with the implementation of the Kigali conceptual master plan. Amahoro cell in Muhima sector where this research was carried out is one of the quarters planned for the development of the CBD1. Residents were asked about what they think is the master plan & its importance, expropriation process and relocation with regards to the experience of their neighboring Ubumwe cell.
Household survey revealed that 73% of the respondents recognize that the nature of housing in their neighborhood is not good in terms of planning and the durability of the building materials. They said that at least they have heard about the master plan and the planning implications of their area since their properties were surveyed for expropriation in 2008 but they were not expropriated and the survey lost validity to date. Constructing a new residential house in this area is not easily acceptable until residents are expropriated and the land is developed for commercial purposes.
Concerning the effect of implementing the master plan in their area, 47% of the surveyed households revealed that they will be evicted. However, these are tenants who have no immovable properties in the area. 33% have the perception that they will be expropriated to allow the government implement the master plan. But 20% of the surveyed residents showed a strong belief and hope that during expropriation the government will provide them new decent houses in another area better than the ones they are living in. people with this perception are those with little monthly income and relatively families in poor housing.
About 50% said that they would prefer compensation of their properties and helped to get a new house if susceptible to relocation because re-establishment in 90 days provided by the law to have shifted after expropriation would not be easy for them. Another 12% said that they would prefer expropriation of their properties and assisted to get a serviced plot where they can build a house of their choice relative to their financial capacity and family size. And 35% said that they would prefer compensation alone and re-establish themselves in a new area of their choice, while 3% said that they would refuse any attempts to relocate them because they have the rights on their land.
Also results showed that 67% of the surveyed households regarded the expropriation prices in Kigali city to be low by considering the experience in Ubumwe cell. They added that the prices seem to be fixed while the land and housing costs increase frequently in the city.
Regarding the impacts of implementing the new housing development on unplanned settlement dwellers, research revealed that there are both positive and negative impacts: positively, residents expect improved lifestyle and sanitary conditions as a result of new housing development. Negatively, relocation to a new area for new developments will affect residents who already have their jobs in the current area of residence by losing them or by increased transport costs.
Lastly, the results showed that the main challenges to the new housing development in Kigali city are lack of enough capital to expropriate residents in informal settlements and help them get new residences, poverty among residents, poor terrain in some areas and resistance to change by some residents.
As Kigali city is undergoing renewal and upgrading projects, it is important to take into consideration the needs and expectations of its residents; low, medium and high income classes. Before carrying out expropriation, prior consultation of the stakeholders should be held to raise people's awareness about the importance of the project. Surveyed residents gave the following as recommendations to Kigali city council and other housing partners in the housing development:
Kigali city council should build houses of different standards instead of single-fashioned category of houses so that expropriated persons may make choice depending on the family size and financial status. This would reduce dissatisfaction of expropriated persons.
If a certain area is planned for a given land use and the occupants must be expropriated, expropriation should be carried out when the city or other investors are ready to develop the land. This would avoid relocating people in a hurry saying that the land is going to be developed in public interest, and the land takes more than two years without development- like the case of Ubumwe cell.
In order to prevent new developments of informal settlements in the city's periphery, poor expropriated persons should be helped to get already built houses in appropriate serviced residential area. This can be helpful if they can pay back in installments when assisted to get a source of income.
Since there are a big number of tenants in informal settlements susceptible to displacement as a result of expropriation of houses of their landlords, the Kigali city or expropriators should build multi-storey apartments to accommodate tenants and other expropriated persons that may wish to settle in apartments. This would also reduce the built surface area.
Zones planned for residential purpose should be prepared by constructing basic amenities such as schools, health centers, roads, markets, electricity connections and water supply and other basic services to attract people. In this case plots should be left vacant so that people build standards of their choice according to the zoning plan.
Thorough mobilization of the residents should be done before expropriating them to raise their awareness and should be informed earlier before expropriation so that they may be able to appraise among the alternatives.
Expropriation prices should be revised each year in order to match with the current costs of building materials and the cost of land.
To interested researchers, more research should be done to analyze how expropriation procedures in Kigali city affect urban planning and development.