RE: “Affordable housing should consider land rationalisation” (The New Times, December 21).
This is a very important article. Your suggestions should have been implemented a decade ago had our urban planners, especially in Kigali, understood the issue at hand. Probably they also do but they do not have the courage to act.
In Kigali suburbs, for instance, there are many houses that occupy a plot that would accommodate two houses in western countries that have a population density of 1 person per square kilometer.
If I was to advise our city mayors, I would ask them to take their city planners to such countries the USA and Canada for a study tour and also look at their housing projects. Both countries have infinite land but they build on it as it is about to get exhausted. Ours is almost exhausted but we plan our settlement if our land is elastic.
Land is valuable. When our city planners issue building permits for a single house, on a land that would accommodate two homes, they are also losing money.
However, I disagree with you on one thing. You say, “The problem will not be addressed by bold regulations or strict inspection by local leaders and security organs. This should be a community problem and should be dealt with aggressive mechanisms. There is need for ownership and mindset change”. First, I believe that bold regulations at a national level are needed now if, in the future, we are to avoid demolishing what we are currently building to subdivide plots into more than one.