Affordable housing remains a complex issue

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A view of some of the houses under construction in the Vision City Estate in Kigali. (File)

Re: New measures to meet housing needs unveiled. (The New Times February 12)

Looking at the picture [published yesterday] one has to ask how do people in these houses access services including shopping, food and schools without a car or other transport adding to the cost of living, use of imported fuels and other expenses. It’s not just the cost of the structures but the cost of living that should be considered in better allocation of scarce capital including the financing costs and property upkeep.

One also must wonder about the use of the land which could improve the quality of life by providing green spaces for recreation and leisure which seems to be lacking in Kigali. It also seems counter to community building which urban density can creatively promote through neighborhood centers and mixed use.

It’s hard to understand this approach given the lessons learned globally by urban planners which offer creative alternatives that more effectively use scarce urban space and are sensitive to both the use and costs of fiscal and natural resources while meeting the needs of those who will occupy these spaces.

Tom Abeles