Interpreting Kigali, Rwanda

$54.95 $41.21

Architectural Inquiries and Prospects for a Developing African City
Korydon H. Smith and Tomà Berlanda
265 pages, 10 × 9, 138 images, index
978–1–68226–062–3 (paper)
August 2018


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Rwanda, less than a generation removed from the 1994 Genocide, is experiencing a period of economic ascent and population growth. Its capital city, Kigali, is expected to triple in size within a generation, and positioned to become a premiere hub of commerce in central and eastern Africa.

Amidst this optimism, however, is limited land and material resources. Food security is in tension with environmental concerns, and government aspirations are often in friction with daily, individual struggles for subsistence.

Interpreting Kigali, Rwanda explores the pressing challenges and opportunities to be found in planning, designing, and constructing a healthy, equitable, and sustainable city. Asking “what is an authentic-yet-modern, prosperous-yet-feasible African city, Rwandan city?” Smith, Berlanda, and colleagues conducted research on Rwandan activities of daily living and how these routines are connected to space-making practices and the Kinyarwanda terms that describe them.

Through a culturally informed view of urban and rural lifestyles and spaces, Interpreting Kigali, Rwanda presents principles and proposals for neighborhood development in the challenging context of Kigali’s informal settlements. With one billion people living in informal settlements worldwide, a number expected to double by 2030, the lessons learned in Rwanda provide a complex, fascinating, and urgent study for scholars and practitioners across disciplines and around the world.

Korydon Smith is professor of architecture at the University at Buffalo. He is the author of Inclusive Design: Implementation and Evaluation and Just Below the Line: Disability, Housing, and Equity in the South. and the editor of Diversity and Design: Understanding Hidden Consequences, Introducing Architectural Theory: Debating a Discipline, and the second edition of the Universal Design Handbook.

Tomà Berlanda is professor of architecture at University of Cape Town, South Africa. He is the author of Architectural Topographies: A Graphic Lexicon of How Buildings Touch the Ground and Between Rural and Urban: Socially Active Ecosystems.

Winner, 2019 EDRA Great Places Award

Fay Jones Collaborative Series

Begun in 2008, the collaborative publications venture between the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design and the University of Arkansas Press pursues projects that document and celebrate creative achievements in various forms of environmental design, design preservation, and design history. Projects tied to Arkansas are especially, but not exclusively, sought. The inaugural publication, a magisterial documentary DVD on the life and practice of Fay Jones, exemplifies our ambitions both in terms of subject and quality.

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