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Struggles to remain in Kigali’s “unplanned” settlements: the case of Bannyahe. Environment and Urbanization


Year published: 2019
Categories: Journal Article
URL Link: https://doi.org/10.1177/0956247819886229

Author / Authors:

  • Esmail, S.
  • Corburn, J.


Examining the precarious status of informal settlements in Kigali at a time of large-scale planning-induced expropriation, this article considers urban contestation in the context of the city’s changing spatial-legal regime. We analyse the case of one informal settlement’s expropriation and relocation – the settlement of Bannyahe – and the contestation that has ensued as resident property owners take the District of Gasabo to court. Through interviews with settlement residents, we follow the fates of these displaced urban citizens and consider their struggles to remain in their homes. Finally, we suggest that such contestation over legal procedural regularity and negotiation over property valuation at the neighbourhood level forms the limit of overt opposition to the city’s masterplan. Terming these limits to contestation “silent boundaries” that circumscribe contestation for property owners in the Bannyahe settlement, we offer perspectives on contestation and compromise amidst urban socio-spatial reordering in the “new Kigali”.


  • Journal Article