Emerging Spaces

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A day in Addis Ababa’s condominiums

Research and Movie by Felix Heisel / Bisrat Kifle
EiABC / Addis Ababa / Ethiopia / 2012

Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, is in transformation. Currently the home of approximately four million inhabitants, the city might triple its size within the next 30 years due to the increasing rural to urban migration, as well as natural growth. Already today, Addis Ababa suffers from a housing shortage of estimated 300.000 units. And, according to UN-Habitat, 80% of the existing dwellings are in ‘sub-standard, “slum” like’ conditions. Thus, in 2004, the government launched a large-scale mass housing program with the ambitious plan to erect 200.000 condominium units within 5 years. In 2011, the Addis Ababa City Administration announced to redevelop all ‘informal’ and ‘unplanned’ parts of the city until 2020.

To date (2012), the AAHDPO completed around 100,000 units on more than 120 different sites – 2/3rd of them in expansion areas – out of which nearly 70,000 are handed over to end users so far. This grand housing program has increased density in several parts of the city, at the loss of traditional ground-floor networks.

Although the physical conditions of the old informal settlements are very poor and in need of replacement, the social networks, as well as spatial and cultural values developed and embedded in these areas are worth the preservation and study as they should be the basis for any new development.

This movie is an educational documentary on the use of space in the redeveloping parts of Addis Ababa. Looking at one typical condominium for the duration of 24 hours, one can notice how its inhabitants changed the spaces according to their accustomed needs and traditions. Interviews with the inhabitants and experts give further insight into the topic.

“Emerging Spaces” is the second of a series of documentaries on spatial developments in Addis Ababa.