Cultivating Community: Healing Through Cultural Renewal

Open Access
Leung, Gloria Chung-Hang
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Architecture
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Katsuhiko Muramoto, Thesis Supervisor
  • Christine Lee Gorby, Honors Advisor
  • Architecture
  • Rwanda
  • Community
In 1994, the Rwandan genocide ravaged the country resulting in the death of over 1 million people within the span of 100 days. Afterwards, Rwanda was left in a state of brokenness. Since then, Rwanda has made significant progress in re-stabilizing and can now even be seen as a model for other developing African countries. The genocide resulted in the creation of a huge orphan population who 16 years later have no family, no skills, no home, and no way to succeed. Many moved to the city of Kigali in hope of a better life. Urbanization is causing a huge problem within Rwanda because the cities are not well equipped to handle a large population increase, thus resulting in the creation of large slums. These slums have poor living conditions with a lack of basic nutrition and sanitation as well as a lack of job opportunities. These orphans are too old to enter regular academic schooling and need another alternative in order to move off the streets and become productive adults. As generations of Rwandans continue to dwell within these slums, the rural countryside is slowly becoming less inhabited. As more time passes, people begin to lose touch with the land, with the cultural rituals that shaped their society and their daily lives. The people of Rwanda need to relearn and revalue their cultural heritage through the medium of architecture. Architecture can be a proponent of social change to help the people of Rwanda rediscover a sense of place and connection to the land.