Creative Lab on urban basic services infrastructure held in Kigali
Kigali, 21 August 2015 – UN-Habitat has held an international summer school in the Rwandan capital under the motto “Interacting Infrastructures”. The Creative Lab brought together international students from Cameroon, Colombia, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Nigeria and the Philippines with students from the University of Rwanda, the College of Science and Technology. The Lab aimed to develop practical ideas for improving the access to basic services as part of the upgrading effort in the informal settlements of Nyarugenge District in Kigali. During the nearly two weeks of the Creative Lab the student groups developed a variety of spatial concepts for improving energy, water & sanitation, solid waste and food infrastructure in Agatare. The group quickly turned some ideas into reality by helping to improve a selected public space area in Agatare and to regenerate a local water kiosk that forms the centre of the area. Improvements included a new roof, a small terrace in front, new windows and two additional taps that will help to reduce the time of queuing for water. In addition, fruit trees were planted and a solar panel was installed now providing electricity and lighting at night to enhance security and increased access to water into the evening hours. Turning ideas into reality Water kiosks are simple booths for the sale of potable water. They are common in many parts of Kigali where the water distribution network to household is limited. The water kiosk in question serves the local community. Over 500 people in the surrounding area depend on it for their potable water supply. The water kiosk was officially reopened on 12 August with representatives from the City of Kigali, Nyarugenge District and from Agatare Cell in attendance. The community of Agatare warmly welcomed the students, and strongly supported their efforts by sharing experiences, challenges and ideas. UN-Habitat is part of the consortium implementing the action oriented urban research project “Rapid Planning –Sustainable Infrastructure, Environmental and Resource Management for Highly Dynamic Metropolises”, a project funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research. This five-year project (2014-2019) is the umbrella under which the Creative Lab was held. It is currently implemented in Danang (Vietnam), Assiut (Egypt) and Kigali (Rwanda) as case cities. The Lab itself was spearheaded by the Universities of Technology in Berlin (TU Berlin) and Cottbus (BTU Cottbus).