Kigali is a city in Rwanda, South Africa. The city has been the capital of Rwanda since 1962 when the country gained its independence. After the civil war ended in the late 1990s, Kigali was severely damaged and had to be rebuilt and the new government was faced with municipal security issues and the provision of essential services for its citizens. Despite many through crisis conditions, Kigali has now become a sustainable city model.
The city with the nickname “land of a thousand hills” has a unique geographical location. Kigali is one of the developing cities in Africa, the city is clean and everything in order. Thanks to the ambitious national development plan, the city has become a very modern metropolis and is known for its social, economic and environmental success.
The city of Kigali is still under construction, with new buildings quickly replacing old buildings. Two-lane paved roads stretch smoothly down Kigali, connecting between the city’s settlements and the fog-covered countryside. The city is often the destination of many organizations for international conferences.
It’s not hard to find a reason why Kigali is now a shining city. This is due to how the city government of Kigali handles environmental problems in impressive ways, one of which is banning the import of non-biodegradable plastics.
In addition, the government also sets a day in a month for its residents to clean up the city and tidy up the surrounding environment. No wonder the garbage is hard to find on the streets of Kigali. The city even received an award from UN-Habitat in 2008 for its efforts to clean up slums and upgrading urban facilities, especially garbage collection and housing, water and sanitation provision.
No one had expected that Kigali would quickly develop as it is now. At the time of the Rwandan genocide 20 years ago, Rwanda was in a state of grave concern. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been killed in the incident and state development for decades has also been taken. Not only that, the Rwandan genocide has also destroyed the infrastructure and paralyzed all available basic services.
Fortunately, Rwanda quickly recovered from its downturn. The rapid progress of the city of Kigali is the fruit of the hard work of citizens and local governments to strengthen national unity and realize the new vision of the country. The vision of Rwanda 2020 states the need to transform the country from the agricultural economic base into a knowledge-based society in order to become a middle-income country. To that end, the Rwandan government plans to rebuild Kigali into its African “Singapore”.
The Rwandan government has planned the expansion of modern infrastructure and efficient delivery of services to Kigali residents, including water, sanitation, energy, and transportation. Kigali has environmental goals and sustainability that include the vision of making the city safer, cleaner, and more modern.
The realization of the vision is applied to the economic and environmental sectors of the city of Kigali. On the official website of Kigali which emphasizes its plan to put forward the most up-to-date ideas for its city and infrastructure planning based on three sustainable branches: ecology, justice, and economics. Sustainable land, water, and sustainable biodiversity management guides development plans as they are a key factor for integrated urban design.
The draft development concept of Kigali was introduced in 2005 entitled “Kigali Conceptual Master Plan” and has won every sustainable international urban planning award, including the American Planning Association Award nominated for Best Comprehensive Plan (2007) and Best International Planning Project (2011) the highest of the American Institute of Architects and the American Society of Landscape Architects. After the concept was completed in 2013, Kigali Master Plan immediately won the Singapore Institute of Planners award in the Best Planning Project nomination (2013).
Furthermore, in the last ten years (in collaboration with a number of academic partners, donors, and NGOs), Kigali has implemented a number of policies, programs, and projects that reflect every aspect of sustainability recommended by Noeleen Heyzer, UN Under-Secretary-General.
According to Heyzer, there are seven main requirements that need to be met to achieve sustainable urbanization: good urban design, energy efficient building design, sustainable transportation system, broad-based energy efficiency, water resources management, solid waste management and recycling, and coordination all those elements.
By applying these seven elements, Rwanda tries to make Kigali a leader of Sustainable Urbanism. Not only in Kigali, the seven conditions are expected to be applied by each country so that cities in the country can also compete to Sustainable Urbanism. If this method can advance Kigali from they previously slumped, there is no harm in trying the same to promote our own country.