Thursday, 20 September 2012

Mainstreaming Environmental issues in Housing Development: Drawing lessons from Akright Kakungulu Housing Estates

View of Akright Kakukugulu satellite City
Whoever thought that names such as Cathedral, Temple and Palm were a preserve for religious artifacts might have to reconsider this assertion with the establishment of Kakungulu estates. The newly built luxurious Kakungulu satellite city located on the Kampala Entebbe highway 18 kilometers from Kampala is no stranger to such names.

On 4th Sept 2012 the Uganda Human Settlements Network with its members drawn from the civil society organizations and housing cooperatives visited this luxurious Estate for an exposure and learning tour on issues of Environment, climate change and housing development. The Network was hosted by the Director of Finance Mr. Alex Kamukama who guided members through developments within the estate. 

Members were thrilled to learn how the idea of having a self sustaining estate was conceived and realized from humble beginnings. This satellite City as described by Mr. Kamukama is composed of 12 villages. The twelve villages were created with emphasis to accommodate different categories of people depending on their special needs and affordability. He also made reference to the Bible which he says was the key guiding factor during formulation and design of 12 villages in the City quoting 12 tribes of Israelites in Numbers 33:54. 

Mr. Kamukama Alex introducing members to the estate

It was revealed that the estate has been able to integrate environmental issues through landscaping putting into consideration water flow systems and comprises of among other facilities Social amenities such as education centers; recreation centers; shopping malls as well as health facilities. The estate development which started in 2002 is expected to be completed by the year 2022 and is expected to accommodate 144,000 people according to the plan. Alex also informed members that the estate has been able to plan for provision of water through creating 12 artificial water bodies in the valley.  

Members enjoying the top view of the estate as they listen to Mr Kamukama

Greening and use of existing resources to develop an estate
After introductory remarks from Mr. Kamukama members were taken through the estate to physically observe issues of environment and climate change mainstreaming. As members sat down in one of the resting spots near the luxurious palm valley golf course in the estate for a drink, offered by the Host, he went on to narrate how the estate was largely developed using existing resources. 
Members taking a drink as they listen to Mr Kamukama narrate his journey to success

Using existing Natural resources in swamps with the estate, they were able to mine clay in partnership with Uganda clays for tiles and brick making which were used to construct houses in the estate. With emphasis on the same point, he advised members most especially those from housing cooperatives not to fail to start building their dream homes with excuse of lacking enough financial resources but rather start with available resources and God given abilities.

One of the posh houses in the estate

With lurid, vocal and humorous body gestures Mr. Kamukama taunted environmentalists who think people cant effectively live and use resources in swamps and green belts without destroying its nature and inhabitants referring to Kakungulu estate as a perfect example that they ought to emulate.

Members taking a group photo in the golf course near the swamp and the green belt in the estate

He then led members to the luxurious palm valley golf course in the estate that was developed within in the valley around the swamp while maintaining its natural green cover and water systems. The beauty of green landscape within the golf course awed members to the extent that some started whispering on how they would wish to have the same landscape in their living rooms. He also shared the long-term plan they have for improving and creating more open spaces in the estate, including developing world class sports center within the estate with all facilities
Members admiring the landscape in palm valley golf course
Mr. Kamukama also pointed out how it would be unfair for members to depart without looking at how they used ponds where they previously harvested clay that are currently used for fish farming and water trapping to irrigate vegetable gardens. He then led the team to the ponds located in the far east of the estate. With antics and humorous gestures to make his point clear, Mr. Kamukama went on to explain how people should start learning how to live with nature without destroying it referring to the Bible that God gave us Dominion over earth.
Members listening to Mr. Kamukama narrate how they effectively used empty ponds after clay mining

He also went ahead and took members to see how they have harmoniously used nature in the green belt to create camping site for tourists preserving tourist features like a plant with the longest and widest leaf in the world which he called Raffia Palm
Members posing for a photo in the camping site, far behind is the Rafia palm

Members being shown techniques of water trapping for fish farming

To the surprise of the guests, the Estate still had more scenic and features to visit and to cut a long story short as they say, the day climaxed with a visit to Vegetable gardens. Several participants were observed nodding their heads in total satisfaction and appreciation of a well planned for sustainable neighbourhood.

Members admiring the Vegetable gardens in the estate as they listen to to Mr kamukam tell a story on how they managed to do it

View of the estate from the valley

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