Coen Beeker’s ‘Urban Fields’ for Addis Ababa

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    Cities under rapid urbanization such as Addis Ababa offer a set of challenges for today’s designers and planners. The urgent need for access to affordable and decent living environments presses city administrations, whose primary response tends to be a top-down approach of public housing projects and allocating plots through a bidding process in which only the affluent become beneficiaries. Such socially selective approaches usually segregate urban dwellers into economic classes and fall short of providing affordable housing options. The formal and informal horizontal sprawl of the city has continued unabated since the mid-1970s and has gained even stronger momentum in the past decade. It is important today to consider options that allow integration instead of segregation and to find options for legal and planned urban environments that deal with peripheral urbanisation. Coen Beeker’s ‘step-by-step’ process of urbanization, which allows gradual changes that promote incremental and adaptable formation of ‘urban fields’ in the peripheries of Addis Ababa, illustrates the possibilities. He argues that access to legally tenured plots of land and further urbanization through measured steps is crucial for developing affordable and cohesive communities in these areas. This paper is an analysis of the pertinent challenges faced by the city of Addis Ababa in relation to peripheral urbanisation and an assessment of Coen Beeker’s proposal to deal with these challenges.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Beeker Method. Planning and working on the redevelopment of the African City
    Subtitle of host publicationRetrospective glances into the future
    EditorsAntoni Folkers, Iga Perzyna
    Place of PublicationLeiden
    PublisherAfrican Studies Centre Leiden (ASCL)
    Number of pages12
    ISBN (Electronic)978-90-5448-160-7
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Publication series

    NameASC Occasional Publications


    • Urban Fields
    • The Beeker Method
    • Planning Urban Sprawl
    • Affordable Housing
    • African Cities


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