GAC Housing Initative
Launched in 1996, the Imidugudu program, which relocates rural and low-income settlement dwellers into planned housing developments, has begun to reshape both urban and rural landscape in Rwanda. Under this program, current land owners can trade their property for housing plots, leaving many renters to search outside cities and villages for shelter. In rural areas, those living in the dispersed settlements are now being congregated to flattened sites, often away from their families, jobs, and the relationship they have developed with the landscape that formed out of an agrarian tradition.
The Imidugudu program has been both controversial and transformative. Often left out of the equation however are low-income Rwandans who either do not own land or can not afford to resettle.
The act of planning, designing, and constructing housing in Rwanda is an act of engaging the Rwandans’ right to space. Beginning in 2008, we have been researching viable housing models for Rwanda with this in mind. That same year we began working with villagers in Masoro, Rwanda to design housing and accompanying gathering spaces.
The GAC Housing Project was initiated to bring design thinking to Masoro in the form of new housing. The first house built in 2013 used low-impact building materials, engaged both skilled and unskilled local labor, and was a vehicle to test and teach building techniques new to Rwanda. Since then this project has expanded, first to adjacent communities and more recently to the subSaharan region.
Zero $ House
Masion de Masoro