emerging city lab addis ababa

Background of the ECL-AA

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) called the new millennium the “age of cities” with mega cities growing rapidly, especially in developing countries. This development calls urgently for adapted and sustainable urban settlement concepts. Ethiopia is no exception where dilapidated housing stocks and a rapidly growing population are creating a dramatic housing crisis. Ethiopia needs well-educated architects, engineers, construction managers, and urban designers to meethousing challenges and further sustainable urban development. Looking at higher education in architecture in Ethiopia though, EiABC and bauhaus cannot but notice that Ethiopia is not making use of the potential that lies in practice-based learning and research.

Bauhaus has a long history of learning through full-scale experiments (for nearly 100 years). This is why EiABC has been collaborating with bauhaus since 2009 in order to improve the education of young architects in Ethiopia with a strong focus practice-based learning and an eye-level exchange of ideas, people, and knowledge. From what has been learned so far through this intense academic partnership, EiABC and bauhaus want to continue and further their partnership through the establishment of a joint research and teaching lab called Emerging Cities Lab Addis Ababa.

Emerging cities stands for those towns and cities in the Global South which are currently facing rapid population growth: in the context of Ethiopia such cities might be the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, regional capitals such as Bahir Dar or those rural towns which are going to be founded in the coming 15 years.

In this context, the lab serves as a framework to enable teaching and research that is directed towards practice-based and interdisciplinary design in the context of emerging cities with Ethiopia as a showcase. Furthermore, the lab is directed towards the improvement of relevant structures and skills to create an interdisciplinary, intercultural, and practice-based research and teaching environment at bauhaus.ifex and EiABC.

Objectives of ECL-AA

  • to test design and planning ideas, hypotheses, and suggested solutions concerning emerging cities and their built environment under lab conditions,
  • to implement them, at large scale if possible, with the help of public or private funding,
  • to publish on, teach about, and create a network on practice-based and interdisciplinary planning in Ethiopia
  • to qualify EiABC and ifex staff through interdisciplinary, intercultural, and practice based teaching and research (capacity building)
  • to pass these skills on to students through regular semester projects, workshops, and field trips which are directly connected to the ECL-AA’s research
  • to exchange student and staff members

The goal is to establish the ECL-AA based on a broad array of experts, students, and teaching staff from both institutions as well partners from other backgrounds through joint teaching and research projects. Hereby, the ECL-AA puts particular emphasis on displaying the special focus of BUW and EiABC: interdisciplinary and international cooperation as well as practice orientation. The ECL-AA is committed to constantly broadening its network and to cooperating with new partners from research and teaching.