Residential Density and the Physical Transformation of Informal Housing: the case of Adwa Park’s informal settlement; Addis Ababa

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This research papermeasures the residential density of ADWA Park’s informal settlement and studied the physical transformation of the settlement to understand to what extent is the densification of the informal settlement and the relation between density and physical transformation of the settlement.The entire study was planned to perform through deductive approach by measuring the density of informal settlement and compare with the structure plan of the city and some selected global compact cities. The research method is also a case study method. This research paperemploys both quantitative and qualitative type of data simultaneously. The study has found that the gross residential density and housing unit density of ADWA Park’s informal settlement is higher than the existing density of Addis Ababa city; per person required area is also less compared to the city. Residential density of the informal settlement transforms from a farming field owned by a single farmer to one of the dense settlement part of the city. The transformation of the informal settlement has been taking place in the form of house expansion, plot sectioning (land subdivision), squatting, and inheritance land acquisition. Due to the transformation floor area ratio (FAR) of the settlement increased and the settlement becomes more compacted overtime. The transformation has given low-income people an opportunity to get access to affordable rooms and helps the owner’s income through renting.The transformation brings also some problems; blockage of ventilation and light in the house, decrease of outdoor space and the problem of accessibility. The research paper recommendsin order to achieve the compactness of settlement associated with liveability environment land development controlis necessary to monitor the transformation. Besides governmental controls; community based organizations have role in promoting community welfare in informal settlements so as to resolve problems related to the transformation. This paper also contends that apart from dwelling size;space utilization in terms of building’s shape, orientation, and grouping of the layout determine the density.


This thesis is submitted to the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development (EiABC) and to the School of Graduate Studies of Addis Ababa University (AAU) for Partial fulfilment of all requirements of Master of Science in Housing and Sustainable Development.


ADWA Park, Density, compact city, informal settlement, physical transformation, Floor Area Ratio, space utilization