Panel Discussion at EiABC (Ethiopian institute of Architecture, building construction & city development), December 30, 2011.

Reported by Kalkidan Wondaferew & Tewedaj Eshetu

A panel discussion on the Grand Housing Program (condominium housing) in Addis Ababa was conducted at EiABC (Ethiopian institute of Architecture, building construction & city development) on Friday Dec 30, 2011. The Addis Ababa city Administration, the Addis Ababa Housing development project office, Master plan revision office, Association of Ethiopian Architects, consultants, EiABC staff members, students and end users participated.

Addis Ababa is in a state of fundamental transformation in terms of physical, socio-economic and spatial aspects. One of the main changes is happening through the provision of affordable housing in the grand housing program since its launch in 2004. EiABC took the initiative to organize a platform where all involved stakeholders discuss the subject matter. The panel, “Condominium Housing: Past, Present & Future”, tried to trace the path embarked by condominium housing and discuss possible scenarios to follow. The output forecasted further research collaborations between the city administration office, master plan revision office, and the institute regarding alternative affordable housing scheme.

Some of the recommendations from participants were:

  • Involve all stakeholders in the planning, design and implementation phases.
  • Historical, socio-economic and spatial aspects shall be given due consideration to retain the existing mixity, as one quality.
  • Design has direct impact on cost and quality. To provide the necessary time for design development award designs for next year housing project already now, plan ahead of time.
  • Develop a strategy where other experimental affordable-typologies could be developed side by side to the main housing program. Research and experiments are basis of growth and change.

Ato Fasil Ghiorghis presented the history & socio economic Aspects of Housing in Ethiopia going way back to the time of the Italian occupation, reffering it as Demographic colonialism and also emphasized that height cannot be the only way to serve density.

Following that Ato wondesson demrew ( former deputy manager of the Addis Ababa Housing Development Project Office (AAHDPO) ) presented the grand housing program from inception (2004 GC) to realization, going in depth about the Motive, strategy, Actors, Financial aspects , figures/ numbers and the challenges faced.

Bisrat kifle, an instructor in the Institute later illustrated the evolution of typologies and generations of the condominium blocks and finished with a posed question on what the next generation of blocks should look like.

Ato abrham Workneh from the chair of housing in the institute , quoting Jane Jacobs (an American-Canadian writer and activist with primary interest in communities and urban planning) discussed the issues of urban densification.

Selamawit Wondimu, Brook Teklehaimanot and Zeleke Belay delivered their presentations on titles Pieces of the puzzle ( presentation based on research), cooperative housing / neighbourhoods and Alternatives as an approach respectively.

The panel discussion was finalized with comments, questions and further discussion issues.

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