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From Closed to Claimed Spaces for Participation: Contestation in Urban Redevelopment Induced-Displacements and Resettlement in Kigali, Rwanda

Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente, P.O. Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands
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Land 2020, 9(7), 212; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9070212
Received: 19 May 2020 / Revised: 19 June 2020 / Accepted: 29 June 2020 / Published: 1 July 2020
In many cities and urban areas in Africa, land acquisition for urban redevelopment, land readjustment, and resettlement of affected urban residents are currently framed as innovative approaches to eradicating informal settlements, improving the living environments, and supporting the implementation of newly adopted city Master Plans. Nevertheless, it is not yet known how the responses of institutions and affected people shape these processes. Based on research conducted in Kigali, Rwanda, this article discusses affected residents’ responses to land expropriation and resettlement necessary for urban redevelopments. Our findings show that affected informal settlement dwellers voiced their concerns over the deviations from the Expropriation Law, compensation decision-making made behind closed doors, lack of transparency in property valuation, and compensation packages that they perceive to be unfair. Some of the consequences of these concerns are strong feelings of unfairness, exclusion, and marginalisation; distrust and increased perceptions of impoverishment risks, all of which fuel contestation and resistance attitudes among the affected landowners. The affected landowners agitate to assert their rights and stake their claims through contestations, community mobilisation, and legal recourse. We conclude that such contestations constitute claimed spaces and interactions in which affected landowners are laying claim to fair processes against the ‘’exceptionality’’ and the “decide-defend” decision-making approaches, while local authorities assert legitimacy of their decisions. Critically, informal households affected by urban redevelopments see opportunities for participation in their resettlement decision-making as fundamental to securing their future. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban redevelopment; land acquisition; expropriation; induced-displacement; resettlement; spaces for participation; compensation; right claiming; contestation; Kigali urban redevelopment; land acquisition; expropriation; induced-displacement; resettlement; spaces for participation; compensation; right claiming; contestation; Kigali
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Nikuze, A.; Sliuzas, R.; Flacke, J. From Closed to Claimed Spaces for Participation: Contestation in Urban Redevelopment Induced-Displacements and Resettlement in Kigali, Rwanda. Land 2020, 9, 212.

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