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Kigali center to boost ranks of Africa’s urban designers

A U.S.-based firm plans to open training centers in Kigali, Rwanda (above) and other African cities to address the shortage of architectural and design professionals. (Becca Kumar/flickr/cc)

The demand for Africa-based urban planners and architects who can reimagine the continent’s cities has never been greater. Dezeen magazine reports that a nonprofit U. S. firm has launched an architecture and design training center in Kigali, Rwanda, to address a severe shortage of qualified professionals.

The project was announced recently at the United Nations Solutions Summit in New York. The African Design Center is the brainchild of MASS Design Group, which has offices in Boston and Kigali. The goal is to cultivate homegrown talent so that Africa doesn’t have to rely on ideas from Europe, North America and China.

MASS plans to establish more training centers throughout Africa. The firm already has built schools, clinics and residential units in sub-Saharan Africa, Haiti and the United States, the article says. The push to train the next generation of Africa’s designers comes as urbanization and development alter the continent. Some existing cities, such as Addis Ababa, are undergoing wholescale transformations as new metropolises such as Eko Atlantic are built from scratch.  


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