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ETHiopia Urban Laboratory – Summer School 2010

ETHiopia Urban Laboratory - Summer School 2010

ETHiopia Urban Laboratory Summer School - sustainable housing for the World's Poorest

25 June - 18 July 2010. Location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Ethiopia has one of the fastest growing populations in the world and needs housing solutions. Within the next 15 years, Ethiopia will be confronted by an additional 45 million people, all requiring the basic needs of food, water, safety, and shelter in not yet existing – or already overstressed – urban settlements. To address these challenges, innovative approaches are desperately needed.

Together with the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development >(EiABC), ETH Zurich initiated the ETHiopia Urban Laboratory Summer School, with the goal of spreading knowledge and finding solutions related to sustainable urban housing.

During the first week, local and external experts gave lectures on the broader themes of architecture and construction, water and sanitation, and entrepreneurship. In the ensuing two weeks, the students – all future architects, environmental engineers, scientists or economists – worked on practical tasks.

These case studies were related to the Sustainable Urban Dwelling Unit (SUDU), a two-storey, low-cost house built with local materials and local labour, which serves as a research prototype for urban housing solutions in Ethiopia and other developing nations. The architecture students worked on the SUDU construction site, while the environmental engineers and scientists proposed a design for a wastewater treatment plant for the SUDU and the entrepreneurs drafted a business plan for loam bricks, a major component of the SUDU.

During the three-week course, students from Ethiopia and ETH Zurich sought to understand the current trends and future problems regarding the housing needs of a developing country, while generating the tools and ideas to help solve them. The final presentations illustrated that these students – regardless of their backgrounds – gained knowledge and skills that will help them to find sustainable solutions in their future urban design activities.

Further information

ETH Life article about the summer school

North-South newsletter


African Technology Development Forum on architecture

Photo Gallery

Watch the documentary film about the summer school


The ETHiopia Urban Laboratory SummerSchool was jointly carried out by the D-ARCH, in particular the BLOCK Research Group, EIABC, ETH North-South Centre and ETH Sustainability.

© 2013 ETH Zürich | Imprint | 26.03.2012