Now Reading
The New Times| The New Times

The New Times| The New Times

The built environment is considered as a hub of economic activities, individuals and families, and society’s cultural heritage.

The built environment protects life and health, its inhabitants’ psychological and social welfare, and sustains aesthetic and cultural values. It also generates a lot of waste and consumes a lot of energy.

If effective policies are not implemented, it is expected that greenhouse gas emissions will increase to 37% by 2030 from 2005 levels.

This challenge can be solved by the design and construction a better built asset, supported by appropriate management tools and regulatory frames that address sustainable development issues.

Conservation of historic cities is a better strategy than replacing them with new buildings to reduce CO2 emissions. New construction projects can have more severe impacts in the short- to mid-term. However, conserving an existing building will save you energy and CO2 investment. The connections between components in the built environment (e.g. individual buildings, transport systems and urban landscapes) should reduce environmental impacts in terms energy, carbon, waste, and water. Sustainable regeneration projects can also significantly contribute to social well-being; achieving a sustainable built environment will impact the society’s ability to realize the SDGs.

A UN report has estimated that 3 billion people live under the urban slum conditions. This is due to population growth and urbanization. It would be necessary to provide affordable housing for all by 2030.

The pace of building affordable housing is slow in comparison to the global population growth. This requires countries to develop and implement national plans for urban development to address this challenge.

Urbanization should be at center of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Clement Nayigiziki (construction technologists) previously stated that the rehabilitation of urban slums in Rwanda could greatly contribute to the realization many of the SDGs. These include SDG 1 (end all forms of poverty), SDG 6(clean water, sanitation), SDG 7 (7 affordable and clean energy), and SDG 11 (12 sustainable cities and communities).

Without a resilient and sustainable infrastructure that can withstand climate changes, the paradigm shift to a low-carbon society will not be possible. For essential services such as water supply and energy, it is vital to have a resilient infrastructure system that can withstand floods and keep roads safe.

The built environment has a long-term effect on the quality of life, happiness, health, well-being, and prosperity of individuals and communities. It includes the planning, design, management, and maintenance of the built assets. The built environment should be flexible and adaptable for future uses and resilient to climate changes. The built environment must lead the fight against climate changes towards a low-carbon future.

The challenges facing Rwanda’s built environment

Graduate engineers are unable to bridge the gap between the knowledge they have gained from higher education institutions and the labour market. This causes them to not comply with the regulations, standards, and laws of the Rwandan building code of law as published in the official gazette no other than 16/04/2019.

Provided designs for public and private buildings are often said to be poor as they don’t meet the building standards whereby ensuring standards are upheld to protect the public in terms of safety and health.

Stakeholders often point out that lack of professionalism in the field is due to a lack of skills and not being aware of building codes and rules.

However, on the other side of the coin clients also influence this in a common slang known at the market “ icyigenzi nuko bikora”.  A technician may propose a durable and efficient electric cable costing Rwf 50000, while another less durable option is available at Rwf 10,000,000. The client chooses the less expensive option due to a lack of funds or a different mindset.

Rwanda Standards Board, Rwanda Utilities and Regulatory Authority , Rwanda Housing Agency , and Institute of Engineers in Rwanda  should enhance capacity building to professional’s and train them about regulations, standards and codes of the building system in Rwanda. To monitor and control the progress of projects, it is important to inspect the authorized entities in transparency.

[email protected]

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.