Abstract: Rwanda, with its population of 12,600,000, growing 2.8% yearly, and significant investments in infrastructure and construction in its capital Kigali and six secondary cities identified as economic poles of growth, aims to achieve a 35% urbanisation rate by 2024. Kigali and Rwanda’s secondary cities are currently revising their master plans in response to the pressure of rapid urban growth in infrastructure and services. To address the lack of public spaces in its cities, the Ministry of Infrastructure, the Rwanda Housing Authority, local authorities, the Global Green Growth Institute, and other stakeholders have committed to deliver a range of activities in this area. Their commitments include the assessment of public spaces, which will be used as a baseline for the purpose of reporting on the Sustainable Development Goals public space indicators (11.7) and further revision of the master plans of Rwanda’s secondary cities. This article firstly builds on the existing knowledge and understanding of public spaces in Rwanda’s planning documents, followed by an examination of how multiple actors in Rwanda interact in order to promote a nation-wide public space agenda. The main findings indicate emerging forms of innovative collaboration and partnerships for public spaces involving all levels of the Rwandan government, development partners, the civil society sector, and other stakeholders. The article concludes that, as planning documents and strategies on public spaces are in place and in line with the recommendations of the New Urban Agenda, given the limited budget for its development, Rwanda needs access to innovative funding sources in order to effectively implement public space initiatives across the country.
Keywords: climate change; master plan; New Urban Agenda; public space; Rwanda; secondary city; Sustainable Development Goals; urban design; urban planning