With the Millenium Development Goals the United Nations are setting a framework to foster a more sustainable development world-wide. The goals are ambitious and their realistation more than challenging, especially when it comes about responding to changes like ‘growth’ and rapid urbanisation in developing countries. In this study project, we are trying to understand and address those challenges in the context of Sub-Saharan Africa by creating responsive models for the development of small cities in Ethiopia.
While Ethiopia is facing an ongoing transformation from a mainly agricultural society to industrialisation and modernisation this process is interlinked to substantial changes of the country’s rural and urban areas. In its current “Growth and Transformation Plan II“ the Ethiopian government plans to develop a large number of small cities in order to ensure and organise access to basic needs. This includes the provision of water, food, energy as well as social and physical infrastructure to foster economic growth. So, how could scenarios for future towns look like in the context of Sub-Saharan Africa and what kind of concepts could urban planners provide to be supportive to meet both – demands of liveable human settlements and their environment?
For a sustainable development of these new towns the consideration of flows of resources and people within the urban system is crucial as those will determine the footprint of future urban systems – and with that also immanent factors like traffic, mobility & resource exhaustion. The study project will have a closer look to understand how such flows (of people or goods) are linked to the physcial and material building activities in rural urbanisation processes. What is their impact on the existing environment and how can those be considered in early planning stages? How can they be visualised in responsive and flexible plans that allow a broad participatory input through experts and local citizens?
To answer these questions, the study project is referring to different relevant aspects like water, food or traffic but also to urban qualities to provide a human-centered liveable environment. Participants will be analysing urban patterns and flows of small cities, learn about the role different resources take in the context of spatial development and apply tools and methods for spatial analysis and finally implement that knowledge to simulate possible urban development scenarios using parametric models.