Green City Kigali: an important milestone on the road to more sustainable green cities

FCBStudios collaborates with Grant Associates and international design team to develop ‘first of its kind’ sustainable development in Africa

Pilot phase master planning is underway for Green City Kigali, a new and ‘first of its kind’ development in Africa for low and middle income residents. 

Green City Kigali is set to be a sustainable and affordable scheme that will integrate green building and design, efficient and renewable energy, recycling and inclusive living as well as homegrown solutions and local construction materials.

As a result, residents in Kinyinya will enjoy the social and economic benefits of urbanisation while limiting their ecological footprints. The 600 hectare city extension is expected to serve as a model for sustainable urban development that can be replicated across Rwanda and the wider region. The project is being developed by the Rwanda Green Fund (FONERWA) with financial support from the German Development Cooperation through KfW Development Bank and the Green Climate Fund (GCF). 

Green City Kigali is an important milestone on the road to creating more sustainable green cities in the region and worldwide. African cities become the new home to over 40,000 people every day, many of whom find themselves without adequate housing and basic infrastructure. Sustainable urban development means contributing to a more equitable, environmentally just world.

The project, being led by Bath-based masterplanners FCBStudios in collaboration with a dedicated team of creative partners including internationally-renowned landscape architecture practice Grant Associates, will be grounded in three integrated and indivisible pillars: sustainable urban development for social inclusion and reducing poverty; sustainable and inclusive urban prosperity and opportunities for all; and environmentally sustainable and resilient urban development. 

Green City Kigali will integrate these three dimensions of sustainable development by combining a green and climate change resilient urban model and infrastructures with affordable housing solutions.

As Rwanda is strongly committed to promoting sustainable green cities, the Green City Kigali project is a great milestone and a true example to prove that it’s possible to build a sustainable urban development by also considering the environmental aspect. The project is looking forward to linking sustainable urbanization and affordability elements. It will undoubtedly serve as a catalyst for change not only in Rwanda, but also in the region.

Teddy Mugabo Mpinganzima, CEO, FONERWA 

This is a truly extraordinary opportunity to address one of the major global environmental challenges we face in the next 50 years – the projected mass urbanisation and population growth across the African continent. The bringing together of innovative, sustainable viable, affordable, and culturally relevant solutions has been at the heart of our approach as it has to be realistically replicable. We are excited to bring together a team of experts to address these challenges, as well as bringing forward our long-term commitment to East Africa with our research and charity work through the Feilden Foundation. 

Peter Clegg, Senior Partner, FCBStudios 

Green City Kigali is one of those rare projects where we not only have the opportunity to create robust, resilient beautiful landscapes which are unique of their place, but whose fundamental aim is to safeguard landscape as an asset for the people whose lives and jobs rely on what their environment can provide.

 Yasmin Alzadjally, Associate Landscape Architect, Grant Associates

FCBStudios’ masterplanning study starts with the development of a prototype neighbourhood community, to house around 10,000 people occupying the western slope of Kinyinya Hill. It will be based around a 400-500 meter walking distance to a neighbourhood centre located at the heart of the community. An arterial horizontal road passes through the neighbourhood, making connections to neighbouring communities and providing a focus for commercial development. 

A key challenge in the brief is to develop an approach to the vulnerable sloping topography which is typically underutilised in Rwanda in both urban and rural contexts. Urban integrated, Green space will make the most of the hillside site, giving space for food production and breathing space within the city. We have proposed an urban plan that is born from a deep understanding of Rwandese social structures and living patterns. This will create an urban framework which nurtures community and locality - life and activities that are cherished - whist promoting opportunities for new activities and livelihoods.

The project is a collaboration between FCBStudios and regional architects Light Earth Designs, A Studio Space and Studio FH Architects and with multidisciplinary Rwanda based consultants FBW and Turner and Townsend as cost consultants; the international team includes Grant Associates, AKTII and Atelier Ten.

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About Grant Associates

Grant Associates is a pioneering international landscape architecture practice. Our work reconnects people with nature in insightful, delightful and distinctive ways whilst addressing the global challenges of urbanisation, the climate crisis and biodiversity extinction.

Our design process is underpinned by a knowledge of human behaviour, nature and ecological science combined with innovative design technology. We bring original thinking, creative collaboration and are exploring what regenerative design and the circular economy means to landscape architecture.

Our varied portfolio includes ambitious large-scale, landmark projects through to small, local ventures.