Urban Fold

Developing The Least Developed

Western planners and architects have drafted a broad master plan for Kigali, the capital of Rwanda -- one of the least developed nations in the world.

The planners and architects have a "conceptual master plan for the future of Kigali: a sweeping vision to turn today's red-dirt ad-hoc city into a verdant capital with tree-lined boulevards, mixed-use neighborhoods, a new university, parks, and a network of wetlands to mitigate storm-water runoff. OZ Architecture, from Denver, along with EDAW, a landscape-architecture and urban-planning firm, had been quietly working on the scheme for three years. This morning, 13 years after Rwanda's genocide, they would present it to an audience of local planning officials, foreign consultants, and politicians. I had come to watch, to see what American-style urban planning looked like in Rwanda, and what it could possibly do to help transform a place of poverty and struggle into one of prosperity and peace."

"It can't come soon enough. Rwanda ranks 158 out of 177 on the United Nations Human Development Index; five percent of the population has steady access to electricity. But its president, Paul Kagame, has fostered a powerful vision of Rwanda's future as a kind of Singapore for sub-Saharan Africa, a center of medicine, banking, and technology for the region's 770 million people, a number expected to more than double in the next 50 years. OZ's task is to give that vision physical shape."

Full Story: Planning Rwanda

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