EDITORIAL: Public consultation on city master plan the way to go

The Mayor of the City of Kigali, speaking during an exclusive interview with this newspaper published on Monday, spoke at length about the ongoing effort to update the City Master Plan.

She highlighted the fact that the city’s population continues to grow fast and is expected to hit four million by 2050.

With Kigali city home to an estimated 1.4 million inhabitants at the moment and considering the challenges that have come with the sudden increase in its population in recent years, it is evident that City Hall needs to undertake a thorough process to ensure that the next Master Plan is comprehensive enough and sensitive to the evolving demands and realities of a fast-growing metropolitan.

For some years now one the biggest challenges faced in the implementation of urban master plans in the country is the limited participation and coordination of the different stakeholders and involvement on the part of the general public in the process to draw up the master plans, which results into lack of ownership.

In the ongoing exercise, however, there is a sense that city authorities are keen on reaching out to the different players and members of the public with view to collecting their views to help inform the next City Master Plan and getting as many actors on board so that implementation is smoother when the plan is finally rolled out.

 Also commendable is the fact that the city administration is committed to actively involve the private sector in such undertakings as introducing and upgrading green and entertainment spaces, car-free zones, among other aspects of the proposed master plan.

It is through broader participation and ownership that the city will succeed in implementing its plans, making Kigali a truly habitable, refreshing and contemporary metropolitan.

We can only encourage city authorities to follow through on their pledge to make the process participatory and open as much as possible.