In Search For
A Third (African) Way

Summer Semester 21
Urban design studio
17,5 ECTS (12,5 ECTS + 5 ECTS)

Prof. Fabienne Hoelzel, Ute Vees (Academic Associate), Yishak Teklegiorgis (Guest Lecturer)

University of Lagos, Department of Architecture
University of Addis Abeba, EiABC, ECL


12 (6 already enrolled)

Tuesday and Wednesday, 9 AM to 6 PM (building 1, rooms 208 and 206)

Introduction: Tue, April 13, 3 PM, building 1, room 208

1st crit: Wed, May 12, 9 AM

2nd crit: Wed, June 2, 9 AM

3rd crit: Wed, June 23, 9 AM

Finals: Wed, July 14, 9 AM

Ute Vees,

The ongoing urbanization processes on the African continent are different. Happening at a fast pace, the respective driving forces and the resulting space production differentiate from Europe, the Americas and Asia. Therefore, existing and seemingly successful urban planning and urban design strategies need to be challenged. The question how an “African way” in urban planning and development may be explored and implemented is an exciting and ongoing discussion in urban planning theory and practice. The aim of the urban design studio of the summer semester 2021 is to develop a manifesto for urban design in the sub-Saharan African context.

Ethiopia and Nigeria, the two largest countries on the African continent in terms of population face ongoing urban growth rates. Culture, political structure and urbanization patterns are different in the two countries and furthermore vary throughout the different regions within the countries themselves. Whereas governmental ideas and strategies towards population and urban growth range from “integrated sustainable development in order that cities become generators of development” (Nigeria) and “decentralization and industrialization to become a low middle-income country” (Ethiopia), in both cases challenges in providing the necessary basic urban services and infrastructures are quite present.

Bringing together perspectives from West and East Africa, the studio aims to search for a “Third (African) Way” that takes both local conditions and global responsibilities into account. Through the investigation of real-life cases, students will develop radically open, future-oriented and actors-based designs that aim to contribute to the overall discussion on urbanization in sub-Sahara Africa. The manifesto will be developed through the methods of research and research-by-design by exploring six cases from Ethiopia and Nigeria.

The urban design studio is a collaboration with the Department of Architecture of the University of Lagos as well as with the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development, Addis Ababa University. Three students from Nigeria and three students from Ethiopia will fully participate in the class in Stuttgart.

A series of travel grants is available for an excursion and workshop in October 2021 where the studio output will be presented and discussed.

(photographs: Abuja, Nigeria and Addis Abeba, Ethiopia by Fabienne Hoelzel)