Addis Ababa Living Lab

Written by: Frederique van Andel
Published on: 25.02.2020

Since 2002, Addis Ababa’s urban resettlement programme has primarily focused on short-term efficiency (speed and affordability), which resulted in housing policies and design-decisions that have produced problematic living conditions. Development induced resettlement demands a holistic approach based on an understanding of patterns of inhabitation and processes of community engagement. This is challenging, because of the shortage of socio-spatial analyses, and lack of actionable information that can be adopted by local actors. The main goal of the project “Addis Ababa Living Lab” is to improve the livelihood of Addis Ababa’s urban dwellers using transdisciplinary approaches of analysis, planning and design. Accurate understanding of social, economic and technological needs and enhanced community participation is crucial. To achieve this goal, a contextually new co-creation model will be used – engaging a local university (EiABC), government agencies, an NGO, local and international design and planning practitioners, and a local dwellers’ community. The research will use tools and methods such as geomatics and visual ethnography in site surveys, life-cycle-assessment (LCA) to quantify buildings’ sustainability performance, and Societal Cost Benefit Assessment studies (SCBA). This project will produce a policy paper, an actionable framework and build a pilot project on a test site as experiment and feedback loop. These research outputs will be used to impact decisions, for education and up-scaling. The project positively contributes to several SDG’s (sustainable cities, good health & well-being, education, clean water & sanitation, decent work & economic growth) and generates knowledge and tools to prevent negative feedbacks.