Regulatory planning and affordable housing in Kigali City: policies, challenges and prospects
The availability of sufficient housing for all is often stated as a priority for enhancing the social needs of a society. Studies from elsewhere have suggested a correlation between zoning strictness and inflating housing costs, which also leads to the exclusion of social classes in cities. However, in Africa, these linkages have not been adequately assessed. With zoning being at the heart of the current planning system in Rwanda, this research aims at examining the linkages between zoning planning and housing affordability, in an emerging urban setting like Kigali City. The study employed a combination of systematic review of articles, policy documents, discourse, and cost analysis to assess the effects of the strictness of master plan and zoning requirements on housing costs, and the ease of access to housing particularly for low-income households. This paper finds a significant gap in affordable housing supply, a moderate impact of zoning regulations on housing production costs, and a clear policy determination to address the housing problem despite implementation constraints. This study thus suggests for a relaxation in zoning regulations for certain income thresholds, re-defining of affordability to match the local context, and the generation of housing affordability indexes to inform government’s urban housing strategies.
Keywords: Regulatory Planning, Affordable Housing, Urban Poor Households, Kigali City