This blended online event constitutes the final conference of a project entitled “Social Inclusion and Energy Management for Informal Urban Settlements” (SES). It aimed at bringing informality in housing prominently to the table and especially at introducing related subjects such as affordable and sustainable energy management at the (informal) household level to curricula of Higher Education in the planning disciplines. Findings and products of the project will contribute to a broader discussion on how to find sustainable solutions for informal settlements in Africa.
Currently, Ethiopia is still one of the least urbanized countries in Africa while experiencing unprecedented annual growth rates in urban populations. Despite large government housing programs, there are rising numbers of informal settlements in in the country - some reports talk about a doubling in the last few years and cases of forceful displacement and eviction are on the rise.
While the situation in Ethiopia might be unique given the country’s size, history and current political situation, the challenges arising from informal urbanization are very similar for a host of countries in the region and in Africa more generally. Public debate often features informal settlements as illegal and speculative. Rising contestations ensue about what to do with informal settlements. There is an evident need for debate of these important societal issues in higher education and university curricula, especially when it comes to spatial and urban planning.