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Picture of The Transformation of Addis Ababa

The Transformation of Addis Ababa

A Multiform African City

Editor(s): Elias Yitbarek Alemayehu, Laura Stark

Book Description

Nowhere in Africa is urban development occurring as rapidly as in Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa, at the present moment. During the last decade and a half, massive construction projects in housing, commercial buildings and infrastructure have transformed the landscape of the city, creating a social experiment that has never been replicated on such a massive scale in Africa. This volume, written by Ethiopian and Finnish experts in urban planning, architecture, geography, and ethnology, documents for the first time Addis Ababa’s process of radical transformation. It asks how the city’s poorest residents are affected by the current urban renewal, and identifies the most important challenges facing the city’s residents as a result. Its conclusions focus on three issues: the livelihoods of low-income residents, their participation in the development of the city, and their social networks of support.

This volume also traces out the organic forms of the city’s development. Unlike cities in many other African countries, Addis Ababa emerged with only the thinnest traces of a brief colonial legacy: only five years under Italian occupation in the mid-20th century. The city’s development has eluded many planners and has produced unique indigenous forms of urban living. The book records the current spatial relationships and older architectural forms in the old inner city currently slated for demolition. Numerous maps and illustrations are included to help readers visualize the topics discussed in the volume. The volume will be of interest to anyone interested in Addis Ababa’s history and character, as well as policymakers, urban planners, architects, human geographers, ethnographers and researchers of urban poverty and urban informality.


ISBN-13: 978-1-5275-0800-2
ISBN-10: 1-5275-0800-5
Date of Publication: 01/05/2018
Pages / Size: 220 / A5
Price: £61.99


Elias Yitbarek Alemayehu is Assistant Professor at the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development (EiABC) at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. His research and scientific articles focus on the issues of informal settlements, inner city redevelopment and sustainable urban and rural housing. His work experience includes master planning, urban design, urban resilience and the design of medium and large size settlements. He is the former Director of Research and PhD studies at EiABC and former President of the Association of Ethiopian Architects (AEA).

Laura Stark is Professor of Ethnology at the Department of History and Ethnology at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. She was the Director of the network Living with Informal Settlements, Tackling Urban Poverty (LIFT UP), funded by the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and from 2013 to 2017, was the principal investigator and coordinator of the multi-researcher project Urban Renewal and Income-Generating Spaces for Youth and Women in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia funded by the Academy of Finland. Her research focuses on urban poverty and informal settlements in East Africa.