About Urban Patch Kigali

Urban Patch Kigali advances sustainable development through projects that help build urban communities while promoting environmental, economic, and social improvement. We value the power of small and community-focused projects to have a larger impact to help make cities better. Our work will advance the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals’ Goal 11, to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Urban Patch Kigali’s projects will directly address the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 targets in three ways:

  1. Develop new quality housing in Rwanda that is affordable to a mix of incomes. (SDG 11.1)
  2. Utilize locally-produced materials to lower cost of construction and environmental impact while improving quality and providing local jobs (SDG 11.c)
  3. Create urban, higher-density, developments that include public spaces and other uses to promote improved quality of life and sustainable development. (SDG 11.7)

Background

Like much of the African continent, Rwanda is rapidly urbanizing. This creates a large demand for quality affordable housing. The current housing production to meet the huge need has been provided only at the extremes of burgeoning informal housing for very low-income people and for high-cost housing available only to the top two percent of the population and to foreign investors. As Rwanda’s economy continues to diversify and its working and middle classes grow, there is a large gap and significant demand for moderately-priced housing. Urban Patch Kigali will develop new urban infill housing that can scale to meet this demand through real estate development and, eventually, by producing local construction materials that can reduce cost and environmental impact.

Our objective will be to provide housing at more affordable prices and at a mix of incomes while also incorporating nonresidential and public spaces that help promote the vibrant mixed-use and mixed-income neighborhoods needed to support Rwanda’s rapid growth. Based on market research and the availability of mortgage financing, the housing will be targeted to a variety of households, from single young workers to families with children. A portion of the units could also be held as rental housing suitable for the numerous short-term stays by tourists, visitors, and those employed in the international and NGO sectors in Rwanda in order to cross-subsidize the low-income housing units.

The target market for the housing development will be Rwandans seeking housing in the 15 million to 30 million Rwandan Francs price range for affordable units and 50 million Rwandan Francs and up for market-rate housing for others seeking quality urban housing and neighborhoods. There are three primary competing models to our proposed housing development:

  1. Large-scale housing developments are being developed in Kigali and other secondary cities in Rwanda at both low-income and market rate price points (these developments target a similar market, but the need and demand far exceeds the projects in the pipeline)
  2. Low-density low-cost development at the perimeter of the city (suburban sprawl) provides an affordable market for housing that matches man Rwandans’ preferences for a single-family home and an individual plot of land
  3. Continued informal settlement for low-income people

Business Model

Urban Patch Kigali is a social enterprise that will develop new housing, improve community and open spaces, and provide low-cost local construction materials and urban development strategies. Modeled after Urban Patch in the United States, Urban Patch Kigali’s developments will occur primarily at a small or incremental scale to connect housing development to community improvement. Income generated from housing is used to develop new projects and provide for the improvement and maintenance of public spaces in the community. Economic value is generated through improved value of real estate assets and revenues that can be used to sustain and grow the enterprise, and through the use of local material, labor, and management that recirculates in the local economy. Social and environmental value are generated through the responsible development of built and open spaces in the community, and through the use of sustainable locally-produced construction materials. At the completion of the Phase 1 housing development, proceeds from the sale or rental of the housing units will be reinvested to develop the next phase and also used providing for the maintenance of housing and community spaces already completed. Phase 2 will be the development of a brick production facility to that will provide local materials and employment, and stabilize cost for future housing development projects.

Phases

The Phase 1 pilot project will be a 5-7-unit infill housing development based on Skat Consulting’s successfully completed “Swiss Cubes” affordable housing project in Kigali. Our development will be a mixed-income adaptation of the Swiss Cubes model, and will provide a minimum of 50% of the units as affordable housing (priced at less than 30M RWF). The project will be located in a neighborhood in Kigali where the mix of market rate and affordable housing is both financially feasible and desirable. Upon the successful completion of Phase 1 the project will scale by developing a new brick factory that will provide materials for UPK’s future development and to sell quality construction materials to the development market in Kigali. Phase 2’s early stage business development would be supplemented by pro bono development services and technical assistance by Skat Consulting and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation’s PROECCO program.

Example project: Skat Consulting 8-in-1 “Swiss Cubes” housing development in Kigali

Project Team

Development: Urban Patch Kigali

Project Consulting: Skat Consulting/Swiss Agency for Development & Cooperation

Project Management: GR8C (Great Creations)