Land/Water/Addis: Constructing a Taxonomy of Urban Commons

Seminar Week (056-0106-20)
Organizer: Chair of Prof. Avermaete
Lecturers: Tom Avermaete, Janina Gosseye

Since the turn of the 21st century, massive construction projects in housing, commercial buildings and infrastructure have transformed the urban landscape of Addis Ababa, making its urban renewal one of the largest socio-spatial experiments in Sub-Saharan Africa. From the time when the Ethiopian government launched a housing programme aimed at the resettlement of low- and middle-income inhabitants in 2004, more than 250,000 housing units have been built. The growth of the city’s transport infrastructure has progressed apace.

During this Seminar Week, we will explore the role that the presence of common resources – land and water in particular – have played in this rapid transformation process. How do the citizens of Addis Ababa engage with these resources? How do these common resources generate new collectives in the city? And, how are specific architectural and urban conditions emerging around these resources? Collectively we will construct a taxonomy of land-and-water-based urban commons that have emerged in this ‘exploding’ Afropolis, and document how each of these contributes to urbanisation processes and to urban life.

Prior to departure, on 4 March 2020 at 5pm, there will be an introduction session for students participating in this Seminar Week, with a lecture by Anteneh Tesfaye Tola and Brook Haileselassie. This session will take place in room HIL D 60.1.

10–14 participants, cost frame D
This includes the flights Zurich to Addis Ababa and back, airport transfers and local transport, accommodation in double rooms, lectures by local experts, entrance fees, and one communal dinner.

It is mandatory for Swiss citizens to have a visa. Official information on the visa for Swiss citizens can found here. Holders of other passports are advised to check the specific visa requirements for their nationalities.

Please be aware of the travel alerts issued by the Swiss government regarding travel to Ethiopia. Click here for more information.

For some background information regarding the urban history of Addis please download this text .
Source: Elias Yitbarek Alemayehu, Iman Mahmoud Hassen, Yonas Alemayehu Soressa and Laura Stark, 'New Perspectives on Urban Transformation in Addis Ababa', in Elias Yitbarek Alemayehu and Laura Stark (eds.), The Transformation of Addis Ababa: A Multiform African City (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2018), 4-9.

For some background information about urban commons, please download this text .
Source: Tom Avermaete, ‘Constructing the Commons: Towards Another Architectural Theory of the City?’ in Arch +, ‘An Atlas of Commoning: Places of Collective Production’ 232 (2018): 32-43.