Contextualizing the new Development with Urban Heritage (The Case of National Theatre Area)

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Addis Ababa University


Heritage conservation and urban development have been considered as two controversial concepts. In rapidly changing cities, like Addis Ababa, the conflict between the two concepts appears acute and complex. The overshadowing of the new development over the urban heritages is degrading the spirit of the existing urban space. The National Theatre Area is among the urban quarters that suffer from the mismatch of the development with the urban heritage. Its location in the main city center which requires a minimum of 70m building height for new developers made the problem more complicated. The purpose of this research is to stimulate a heritage sensitive design in areas where development takes place. It reveals the fight observed between the urban heritage of the study area and the new development. It also questions what kind of interplay should be created between the two concepts. In order to determine ways of bringing the two ideas into good dialogue the researcher has reviewed related theories and philosophies; examined similar international practices; analyzed the study area; collected and examined different data and questionnaires from different stakeholders; and also has done an interview for concerned government officials. The data are primarily collected by qualitative methods supplemented by a quantitative method. The investigation has been carried out from the perspective in which new development and urban conservation can be achieved in a harmonious way. Moreover, contextual analysis has been done to relate the literature review with the existing case analysis. The researcher revealed that the absence of political initiations by the government, lack of coordination between stakeholders, insufficient policies and guidelines, lack of community participation, the slanted attitude of architects and planners against heritages are some of the reasons that cause the conflict. Beyond the recommendations, the researcher has proposed a descriptive urban conservation proposal for the study area.



Urban Heritage ,, New Development,, Sense of Place,, Context,, National Theatre Area