Raita Bala

Interdisciplinary Research Center of Cities, Territories, Environment, and Society / University of Tours,  France

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Karl Matthias Wantzen

Kinshasa is the 3rd most populated city in Africa; it is located on the bank of the Congo River and has many urban rivers and a diversity of cultures linked to riverscapes. In the last 50 years, the city has witnessed exponential population growth and uncontrolled urban expansion. Due to the hydrography of the city, a large proportion of the population lives near an urban river, which has been affected by high levels of pollution from different sources and unplanned land occupation. For that matter, it is essential to study how the city has developed, in the past 50 years, environmental protection actions and its river culture. In order to understand how a fast-developed city like Kinshasa can regenerate its riverscape, this research analyses the current situation and investigates the applicability of the ‘River Culture’ concept in the local urban planning. Fundamental to this approach is to research how to learn from local cultural diversity and how this knowledge can contribute to mitigating the deterioration of the local riverscape.