The development of an effective planning approach combines aspects of both top-down and bottom-up investigations and takes into account existing informal processes and their stakeholders. It incorporates and coordinates the different sectoral perspectives, such as infrastructure and building systems. Based on an analysis of the institutional organisation of Ethiopian urban development, this component aims to suggest modifications and alternative approaches and to apply these in an integrative and participative planning strategy. Through providing cooperative planning methods that lead to a more process-oriented planning approach, Participation targets at developing projects with model character. They are integrating different disciplines and sectors committed to urban planning in a multi-sectoral approach.


Adaptable infrastructure systems and a close connection of building systems and urban planning are necessary to effectively and cost-efficiently build housing units. Technical systems considering the needs and concerns of urban design and infrastructure as well as meeting quality standards at the same time, are needed. Above that a rating system must be established to allow checking of the functionality of the adopted technologies with respect to given criteria. Thus the Technology component is about collection and cataloging of infrastructure criteria for Simulation and Participation.


Computational planning methods offer the potential to create a large number of planning variants in a short space of time and to assess them according to different criteria. They can also simulate dynamic processes. For the planning of settlements in fast growing cities, this offers the possibility to examine a range of different “What if?” scenarios and to adapt planning
regulations accordingly to promote the desired pattern of urban development. The aim of Simulation is to develop a planning instrument that makes it possible to find potential solutions for urban design problems, allowing the involvement of stakeholders through cooperative processes and the integration of certain technological systems.

Urban Planning Table

IN3 - Urban Planning Table from InfAR (Bauhaus-Universität) on Vimeo.

Many different urban stakeholders such as authorities, planners, investors or local residents are involved in urban planning processes. Coordination and communication between the parties involved is often difficult, especially since not all parties have the same level of knowledge. This is particularly problematic when plans are not understood by those affected by the planning decisions.

As part of the research project "Integrated Infrastructure - IN3", we want to support planning participants in developing Ethiopian villages into towns in tow ways. First, we create and discuss digital tools with the participants to enable fast urban planning. Second, we experiment with explanatory communication tools to provide village residents and local authorities with easy-to-use and game-like access to planning to enable conscious, participatory decision-making.

In a discussion with village representatives, we gained valuable insights using a prototypical communication tool. We drew attention to drastic changes in the village environment during a growth process from previous population of approx. 1,000 to the expected 10,000 inhabitants. This highlighted, for example, how land use and water infrastructure would be affected.

For an exhibition, we designed a simplified version that should give the users access to planning aspects in a fictious Ethiopian context without further help. The generated planning scenarios surely do not represent the final plans. We hope, however, that this type of interaction will stimulate discussion and reflection on new possibilities for planning and participation.

More Information on technicalities on DeCodingSpaces Website

Integrated Planning Strategy

In the following video we present our progress on citizen participation from March 2018

IN3 - Emerging of a town: Addis Betekristian, Ethiopia (360) from InfAR (Bauhaus Weimar) on Vimeo.

Ethiopian villages like Addis Betekristian are expected to grow to towns of more than 2.000 people in the coming years. - In our research project “Integrated Infrastructure - A Planning Strategy for Sustainable and Resilient Spatial Structures in Emerging Cities in Sub-Saharan Africa” we explore methods that could assist villagers and local or regional decision-makers in the transition of villages to towns.

One focus lays in the development of planning tools to empower citizens and support planners so that they can communicate on a common base. - In a recent trip to addis Betekristian we presented a tool to local politicians, administration and community leaders and heads of diverse associations to get their feedback on its functions and the acceptance of it as a communication tool for planning scenarios.

Publications & Conference Presentations

Title Publisher/ Journal/ Conference Publication Year
Responding to urban qualities under the paradigm of rapid urbanisation - Balancing a supportive tool for rural-urban transformation in Ethiopia African Perspectives +12 - Delft 2019
Development of future water infrastructure provision techniques based on new modularized urban planning strategies through participation: a case of Ethiopian emerging towns Through Local Eyes - Addis Abeba 2018
Bridging local knowledge and planning expertise through digital tools - Utilising explorable explanations for participation in rural and urban transformation of Ethiopia Through Local Eyes - Addis Abeba 2018
Metabolism-based Participatory Planning Strategies for Small Towns in Ethiopian Rural-Urban Transformation Through Local Eyes - Addis Abeba 2018
Generative Hydrology Network Analysis - A parametric approach to water infrastructure based urban planning eCAADe 2018 2018
Perceptions and Pathways of Resilience in Addis Ababa International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaption. Special edition on urban resilience
Assessment of surface water quality in Legedadie and Dire catchments, Central Ethiopia, using multivariate statistical analysis Acta Ecologica Sinica 38 (2), 81-95 2018
Towards a modular design strategy for urban masterplanning - Experiences from a parametric urban design studio on emerging cities in Ethiopia eCAADe 2017 2017
THE EFFECT OF THE STREET NETWORK ON MOVEMENT PATTERNS AND LAND USE IN SMALL CITIES: A comparative study of three 10K cities in Thuringia, Germany Space Syntax Symposium 2017
Identifying sustainability challenges on land and water uses: The case of Lake Ziway watershed, Ethiopia Applied Geography 88:130-143  
Impact and uncertainty of urban growth parameters for estimation of flow for gravity sewer system design: Illustrated by Ayertena-Bethel areas in Addis Ababa SACS2016 2016