Seminar – Large-scale housing programmes and its missing people


Large-scale housing programmes and its missing people: Why some people in Addis Ababa prefer not to stay in their condominium units

Monday 3rd March, 10 AM

@ CFEE – French Center for Ethiopian Studies, Berhanu Abebe Library

By Raffael Beier (TU Dortmund University), Marie Bridonneau (Paris Nanterre University/CFEE), Seble Fekadu Deyaso (Ambo University)


This research is part of a larger research project financed by the German Research Foundation (DFG) that looks at large-scale, standardised housing projects in Africa, focusing on Ethiopia, Morocco and South Africa. As an important part of governments’ developmentalist agendas, all three countries have set up national housing programmes that seek to reduce housing shortages, fight informal housing, promote ‘modern’ housing and boost construction economies. They mainly target poorer population groups as well as lower middle-class and people who reside in informal settlements. Housing units may be distributed via waiting lists, lotteries or through concerted resettlement projects – overall moving people further away from urban centralities and long-term places of inhabitation towards emerging neighbourhoods at distant peripheries. Except for the case of South Africa, so-called “beneficiaries” of housing programmes must afford a considerable amount of their own relocation themselves – despite public subsidies.

A repeated phenomenon of such large-scale standardised housing programmes are people who do not occupy their own units as predicted by housing policy promoters, including governments, international cooperation agency and NGOs. These people – whether they have lived in their own units for a while or not – may prefer to (or are compelled to) rent out or resell their units and move somewhere else. Although this group of people is of significance for a better understanding of the effects of large-scale housing programmes on people’s lives, they have hardly figured in research – mainly due to their “invisibility” and related methodological problems in finding them at dispersed locations.

Thus, this research project zooms in on the rationalities behind people’s decisions not to inhabit their state-delivered housing units. Where do they move and to what extent has the housing programme facilitated or impeded access to adequate and affordable housing for them? While briefly elaborating on the general conceptual framework of this research project, this presentation presents initial draft findings from our own biographic interviews with around 30 people who rent out, sold, or could not access their condominium units in the Addis Ababa metropolitan region. During March 2023, we have identified our respondents through mainly personal contacts and snowball sampling in many different parts of Addis Ababa, including central locations such as Kirkos and Haya Hulet as well as peripheral places such as Koye Feche and Tulu Dimtu. Inquiring their housing biographies since birth up until today, allows us to identify different types and patterns of non-occupation. They range from people who could not afford to access their condominiums, being now trapped in cycles of eviction, others who keep it as a potential last resort in case of eviction, and again others who have traded “upwards”, while moving with the emerging edges of the city.


Citer ce billet
Secrétaire Scientifique (2023, 22 mars). Seminar – Large-scale housing programmes and its missing people. UN ŒIL SUR LA CORNE / AN EYE ON THE HORN. Consulté le 23 mai 2024, à l’adresse

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