Photo: Lukas Kueng

Prof. Dr. Marc Angélil | Architecture and Urban Design

Urban Development and Poverty – Addis Ababa

This research project investigates forms of formal and informal urbanization processes against the background of both high-end development projects promoted by foreign and local actors and a context marked by prevalent urban poverty. Using Addis Ababa as a case, the goal was to devise tools and strategies for more socially inclusive forms of urban planning. In order to identify potentially deciding factors for sustainable urban and social structures, the coordination of informal and formal sectors was deemed essential.
Addis Ababa – the largest metropolitan region in Ethiopia with one of the highest demographic and economic growth rates in Africa – stands out because of a series of challenges and specific local characteristics: unprecedented modernization via urban and infrastructural development on the one hand and poverty-stricken populations that are rooted in a longstanding cultural tradition. Notwithstanding Addis Ababa’s long history of urban planning efforts, including current master plans, what has emerged is an ostensibly uncontrollable conglomerate of buildings and infrastructure projects that has given rise to a particular form of uneven urban development, one characteristic of contemporary urbanization, whether in the Global South or Global North, however taken to its extremes in cities such as Addis Ababa.
The cooperation between the faculties of Addis Ababa University (AAU) and ETH Zurich was initiated by ETH Zurich Professor Franz Oswald within the framework of a new curriculum for the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development (EiABC) in 2010.

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Sascha Delz

Book publications

Cities of Change – Addis Ababa: Transformation Strategies for Urban Territories in the 21st Century, Marc Angélil and Dirk Hebel, eds. (Zurich: Birkhäuser Verlag, 2010, revised edition 2016).
The School, The Book, The Town, Marc Angélil, Cary Siress, and Charlotte Malterre Barthes, eds. (Berlin: Ruby Press, 2013).
Dirk Hebel, Melakeselam Moges, and Zara Gray, in collaboration with Something Fantastic, SUDU – Sustainable Urban Dwelling Unit, Manual and Research (Berlin: Ruby Press, 2015).


Dirk Hebel, Felix Heisel, Sascha Delz, Jörg Stollmann, Lukas Kueng




University of Addis Ababa (AAU), Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development (EiABC), Engineering Capacity Building Program (ECBP), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Allgemeine Baugenossenschaft Zürich (ABZ).

Doctoral dissertation

Sascha Delz, “Development Cooperation at All Costs – How Global Actors and Concepts Influence Urban and Rural Transformation: Case Studies from Ethiopia,” approved summa cum laude by the faculty of the ETH Zurich Department of Architecture in 2015.