Bridging the Gap: A Participatory approach in Architecture and Urban Planning: Case Study of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
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The development of an extensive system that guides the growth of a city calls for the integrated work of every party involved. Those systems mostly concern but are not limited to housing, transportation, sanitation, land use and communication. They are the link between the providers (usually governmental organizations) and the recipients of the services (the inhabitants of the city). However, when those systems fail to provide the services successfully, public frustrations arise. Miscommunications or lack of communication and engagement between the public and the government is a common factor in the failure of plans and projects. The investigation of public frustrations is a key element in moving toward more effective planning processes. To do so, this project studies the historical development of Addis Ababa. It thoroughly analyzes the pattern of settlement and the formation of the current city scape. This historical analysis of Addis Ababa shows that most of the public has had no voice in the various plans of development. Finally, I argue that the lack of community engagement and public participation has ignited severe ethnic conflicts and resulted in widespread human displacements. Therefore, by understanding the lack of public engagement, this study set out to engage with the public intending to identify their basic needs and other preferences. To do so, this study performed research through surveying and site analysis over a period of one month. By doing so, it collected a set of data that represented the public’s voice in various demands. Finally, this study combines the data with the general goals of the government that prioritize densification and standardization for public housing to provide a design proposal that illustrates how a thoughtful process can bridge the gap between government planning and human need to arrive at better housing solutions.