• Rikke Kristiansen
  • Thale Jacobsen Rye
The present exploratory study investigates how the City of Kigali, the capital of Rwanda in East Africa, addresses current challenges of urban flooding exacerbated by anthropogenic climate change and related urban development challenges. It further seeks to understand to what extent Nature-based Solutions (NbS) have emerged as a novel innovation to enhance the urban climate resilience and stormwater management practices in the metropolis.

To grasp the complexity of these challenges, the study applies a theoretical foundation building on Grounded Theory (Steinberg & Steinberg, 2006) and the Multi-Level Perspective on socio-technical transitions (Geels, 2005). These considerations guide the data collection processes framed by a range of qualitative methods, such as expert interviews and in-situ observations, supplemented with a quantitative Blue Spot Mapping (Balstrøm, 2022).

Findings indicate that the rapidly growing City of Kigali is facing a nexus of urban development challenges from the increasing impacts of anthropogenic climate change and associated urban flooding. Which are further compounded by rapid urbanisation and urban sprawl occurring at the expense of biodiversity and ecosystems.

The study explores the structure of the current urban planning regime in the City of Kigali and how the complexity of urban development challenges places pressure on the existing urban planning regime and stormwater management. Ultimately, the study finds that the regime fails to address the nexus of urban development challenges, yet a window of opportunity has surfaced for NbS to emerge as a novel innovation in Kigali. However, the study identifies several barriers and challenges hindering the further sustainability transition of NbS from niche to norm.

To strengthen urban planning practices and stormwater management in Kigali, a range of recommendations to bridge the identified gaps and ultimately accelerate the transition are presented. Consequently, the study articulates the urgent need to advance the implementation of climate change adaptation initiatives in the form of NbS in Kigali and highlights the importance of creating holistic and synergetic planning practices with nature at their heart to enhance urban resilience and stormwater management.
SpecialisationUrban Planning and Management
Publication date31 May 2022
Number of pages128
ID: 471818437