Characteristic Use And Transformation Of Open Spaces In Old Neighborhoods Of Addis Ababa

Master's Thesis, 2016

211 Pages, Grade: Excellent


Table of Contents



Table of Contents

List of Tables

List of Figures

List of Boxes

List of Abbreviations & Acronyms

List of Local Terms

1. Chapter
1.1 Motivation
1.2 Research Relevance
1.3 Scope of the research
1.3.1 Spatial scope
1.3.2 Thematic scope
1.4 The research questions
1.5 Organization of the research
1.1.1 Thesis structure
1.1.2 Research design

2. Chapter
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Choice of method
2.2.1 Case study method
2.3 Selection of the case areas and compounds
2.3.1 Case areas selection
2.3.2 Compound selection
2.4 Purpose of data collection
2.5 Data sources and collection techniques
2.5.1 Semi-structured in-depth interviews
2.5.2 Mapping
2.5.3 Time Diaries
2.5.4 Photographs
2.6 Data analysis techniques
2.7 Validity and reliability
2.8 Discussion on the choice of method

3. Chapter
3.1 About space & place
3.2 Conceptual space
3.3 Lived space (place)
3.4 Space as a Social Phenomena
3.5 Space and culture
3.6 Residential open spaces (courtyards) across cultures
3.6.1 Courtyards in the international context
3.6.2 Residential open spaces in the Ethiopian context
3.7 Space and Behavioral settings
3.7.1 Territoriality
3.7.2 Configuration of space
3.8 Space and communication
3.9 Perception and environment
3.10 Transformations or appropriations
3.11 Activities and space
3.11.1 Necessary Activities
3.11.2 Optional activities
3.11.3 Social activities
3.11.4 Cultural activities
3.12 Economic activities in Housing areas
3.13 Summary of the literature review

4. Chapter
4.1 Background to the case study
4.1.1 Addis Ababa
4.1.2 Arada Sub-City
4.1.3 Dejach Wube Sefer
4.1.4 Gedam Sefer
4.2 The case areas data presentation, analysis & findings
4.2.1 Compound 1 (Aleqa Ambaye Gibi)
4.2.2 Compound
4.2.3 Compound
4.2.4 Compound
4.2.5 Cross compound analysis & findings

5. Chapter
5.1 Summary of findings
5.2 Recommendations
5.2.1 On the planning level
5.2.2 On the design level


i. In-Depth interview Format
ii. Time Diary Format
iii. Key informants to the delineation of case areas
iv. Compound 1 in pictures
v. Compound 2 in pictures
vi. Compound 3 in pictures
vii. Compound 4 in pictures


The main objective of this research is to understand the age long experiences of people livingaround shared residential open spaces in the old neighborhoods of Addis Ababa. And the manner is focused on the comprehension of the shared open spaces in the neighborhoods as a social and cultural products or phenomena.

Case study research is employed to do this research because it is an auspicious method to studysuch contemporary phenomenological processes. Particularly four shared open spaces aresystematically chosen from the inner-city old neighborhoods and studied. The research tries tounderstand the shared open spaces through their physical and spatial character: spatialconfigurations and transformations and their relationship with the dwellers; covering such aspectsas: activities, meanings, behaviors, communications and perception. And both quantitative andqualitative data are collected through in-depth interviews, mapping, time diaries, observations andphotography. The collected data is analyzed through comparative pattern matching, statisticalcomputations, semantic differentials and cross-compound analysis.

The study revealed that the open spaces have from four up to five layers of spaces where different activities are entertained; which are executed out of sheer necessity, option, social and cultural interests. And the distinctions are marked by either physical elements (territorial markers) or expressed through routines. It also showed how well surveilled the open spaces are because of the overlap of activities and layering of spaces. However lack of systematic segregation and ordering of activities marred their effectiveness. In addition, it also showed that women and children are the predominant users of the open spaces whereas the adult males have a different spatial predispositions.

Finally, the study has positively drawn lessons in such areas as, creation of layers of spaces that are often complimented by the layering of associations and the inoculation of security. And the implication of gender, culture and socio economics on the use of space. Besides, it also highlighted the contribution of domestic open spaces, if organized well in space and time, in readily solving the shortage spaces at home and in bringing economic and cultural sustainability in low income communities.

Key words: Addis Ababa, old neighborhood, shared open space, spatial configuration, transformation, activity, meaning, behavior, Dejach Wube Sefer, Gedam Sefer.


In no particular order;

I would like to give my sincerest thanks to my advisor, Yonas Alemayehu Soressa for his patience, and skillful guidance throughout this research. Without his constructive criticism, this work would not have been possible.

My special appreciation goes to all the people in the 4 compounds involved in this research for giving me their valuable time during interviews and discussions and for providing useful information that has helped me to write this thesis, namely, Temesgen, Ayelech, Abiy & Fedlu for their inconceivable support by easing communication with the rest of the members.

My heartiest gratitude goes to my dear friend Sintayehu for his valuable support as a friend and his assistance during the field work.

My thanks are also extended to my friends; and family who offered me moral support throughout the period of my study and research.

Last but not least, to Aida for being there for me in my lows and highs.

Daniel Negash Tadesse

June, 2016.

List of Tables

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List of Figures

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List of Boxes

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List of Abbreviations & Acronyms

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List of Local Terms

Ato A local term used to refer to an adult male, equivalent with the English Mr

Birr Ethiopian currency equivalent to (0.045 USD) or (1 USD ~22 Birr)

Buhe Celebration during the rainy season especially by children singing together burning

Dejach A shorthand for Dejazmach, which is a local term for an army rank below Ras

Demera Cristian celebration of the founding of the true cross; burning a big bonfire

Enkutatash Ethiopian New Year celebration

Gedam An Amharic term for a monastery

Gibi An Amharic term for a compound


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….When one bulldozes one’s way, s/he does not simply pave way for the new on the ashes of the old. It is not simply old dilapidated dwellings, buildings and neighborhoods that are destroyed but rather the fabric of the city. What are being reduced to dust are the very ligaments that hold sefers and urban communities together. Places are not simply physical containers, backdrops or arenas where social life is played out, as modern planners steeped in functionalism would have us believe. On the contrary, places are integral to the life of neighborhoods and cities. Places are invested with meanings, memories and identities. Places are like thick social texts, are not incidental but rather constituent of the city and urban life. All these neighborhoods that are feeling the brunt of a city that is bent on modernizing itself at any cost and is in a frenzy to remake itself anew are witnessing the destruction of their genus loci (spirit of place). Not even burial grounds have been spared from the scalpel of the planner and Macadamization.

(Mekonnen, 2013)

1. Chapter


1.1 Motivation

ccording to a report by UN-Habitat; Ethiopia is the second least urbanized country in Africa, with some 83% of its population living in rural areas. And the rest in cities. Nonetheless, Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia and the diplomatic center of Africa, is one of the fastest growing cities on the continent and, based on African Economist Report, the 10th and 16th biggest city in population size and area respectively. With the current population growth rate of 3.36%, the population size which was 3,365, 000 in 2015 is expected to reach the 5 million mark in 2025 (UN-Habitat, 2012).

Addis, like many of the cities in Ethiopia, is facing enormous challenges with respect to employment, housing, water supply, sanitation and many more. (UN-Habitat, 2008).From the above mentioned urban issues; Housing is one of the critical frontiers where Addis is struggling since 80% of its settlements are recognized as “slum” and majority: 70% of them are located within the inner-city boundary (Elias, 2008).

As part of the measures to that end, in 2004 the city has launched IHD (Integrated Housing Development) project aimed at building some 50,000 units per year to fill the gap between the supply and the housing demand1. The approach kick started from the peripheries and some inner brown sites and now it is becoming an all rounded phenomena; touching areas in the inner city: that upholds the older (Traditional) settlements. Those areas are full of places that are products of everyday activities, individual aspirations social relationships and culture. Those areas within the inner city, as per Steinberg definition, are heritages.

Addis’s inner city is no different from most cities of the world, where most areas in it (physical structures), due to their longevity, are in a bad shape. To improve the condition, following the footsteps of many a cities, Addis is currently by and large engaged in demolition and re- development (Steinberg, 2011) measures appealing to the trendy; new global image. Which inevitably land it in a pitfall where many cities found themselves into. Since the action and the new household formation and dilapidation attempt to create a global image of cities and places has resulted in many of them losing their identity. The situation just makes them a dumping site to the evident eclectic self-images belonging to various nations, which eventually rob them of their unique ontological roots (state of non-place) (Dymnicka, 2010).

Renewal (mass housing as a residential choice) measures in Addis by far, reminiscent to the global frenzy, are just fixated on the improvement of the physical reality, neglecting other important dimensions such as: experiences, cultural norms, meanings and socially constructed values; destroying the traditional lives (Gezahegn Abebe, Jan Hesselberg, 2013) of the “renewed”. Nonetheless the new ideal environment will still be inhabited by the same or same kind of people. Specifically, the present mass housing provisions have set aside large tract of open spaces for play, recreation and socialization. But these spaces are not playing their intended role effectively (Anteneh, 2014) because the positive lessons that could have been learned from the vibrant older neighborhood open spaces (places) are not taken.

In the current housing scenario, the provided open spaces are just a product of standards where; The focus is on just the provision of spaces for specific, main or purposeful activities while neglecting the less purposeful but no less important aspects of daily life (Lawson, 2001).

This is a scenario where design is divorced from the end inhabitants and people are forced to live in houses and housing areas with un-comprehendible spaces, for which they are compelled to adopt other cultural norms and values. This is a key situation why mass-produced housing was unsuccessful by far (Asquith, 2006).

Norberg-Shulz has stated this disparity of designers (creators of modern society) and the need of the designed (society) as follows: the devotion of modern society has almost entirely been single-mindedly focused on the provision of functional houses, whereas identification has been ruled out of the equation. As a result true dwelling, in a psychological sense, has been substituted by alienation. It is therefore important to comprehend the concepts of identification and character in dwellings. Objects of identification are concrete environmental ‘properties’ (physical, social and cultural) and that man's relationship to these is usually developed during childhood (Bachelard, 1958) developing a schemata of experiences which determine all future experiences (Norberg-Schulz, 1976).

Therefore this research tries to understand and inquire; how people have been using and shaping shared residential open spaces and to apprehend the social knowledge (positive and otherwise) accumulated through ages (experience, i.e. from childhood to adulthood) in a way which they will be useful theoretical and design inputs for future residential open spaces design and to improvement of existing ones.

….Through dreams (daydreams), the various dwelling-places in our lives co-penetrate and retain the treasures of former days. And after we are in the new house, when memories of other places we have lived in come back to us, we travel to the land of Motionless Childhood, motionless the way all Immemorial things are. We live fixations, fixations of happiness...

….For how forcefully they prove to us that the houses that werelost forever continue to live on in us; that they insist in us in order to liveagain, as though they expected us to give them a supplement of living. How much better we should live in the old house today! How suddenly our memories assume a living possibility of being! We consider the past, and a sort of remorse at not having lived profoundly enough in the old house fills our hearts, comes up from the past, overwhelms us (Bachelard, 1958)

1.2 Research Relevance

There is an overlap between the earlier settlements of Addis and the current city center where 70% of the city's “obsolete” houses linger and renewal is eminent. Majority of the houses and the settlements near the center are the oldest: in physicality and the densest in social and cultural experiences. However, renewals, done in the city center, by far are only focused on improving the physical dimensions (made of brick and mortar and separate bathrooms), with a total disregard to social and cultural dimensions. Therefore this research is relevant in two aspects:

a) In recording (preserving but not nostalgically) the traditional spaces (social and cultural space) in a comprehensive way: the physical and spatial aspects (spatial configurations and transformations) and the relationship between the people and the spaces (activities, meanings, behaviors, communications and perceptions) since time is catching up with us ….and the renewed environment still going to be inhabited by the same or same kind of people.

b) In deriving design ideas (guiding discursive values) that can be used in future housing open space design; creating socially and culturally contextual design.

Therefore the resulting outcome will provide clues to planners and designers on what to consider when they plan and design residential open spaces (not just as standard spaces but worthy livable places) and in turn the new dwellers will associate at ease (at home) with the provided spaces and benefit from its merits.

1.3 Scope of the research

1.3.1 Spatial scope

This research is about shared residential open spaces within two old neighborhoods of Addis Ababa: Gedam Sefer and Dejach Wube Sefer in Arada sub city former Woreda 01; from a possible list of 64 such compounds pinpointed using GIS 1995 (by Nortech) map. Only 4 such compounds with shared open spaces are selected for this particular study based on the criterion discussed in the next chapter. The study beside the open spaces include additional transitional spaces such as porches and transparent annexed spaces as the compounds spatial reaches.

1.3.2 Thematic scope

Thematically the research, in one aspect, is going to cover the physical or spatial facets: spatial configurations and transformations. However the main emphasis is not just on their physicality (space) but to see the spaces as lived spaces (places) where they are individual and social products and are intertwined with dwellers through the chores (daily, occasional and seasonal) they perform, meanings they deem, behaviors (territorial and others) they command, communication they uphold and their perceptual connotations.

1.4 The research questions

Addis’s inner city, like many of its counterparts, is the oldest and is mainly composed of physically obsolete substandard buildings which are mal serviced and overcrowded. Consequently, change is coming to those places in a daunting rate and renewals are imminent. Nonetheless physicality does not tell the whole story, the spaces are more than that. They are social and individual products; lived spaces, which also by and large will affect the future experiences of those who are living in them.

The main objective of this research is to understand the age long experiences of people living around shared residential open spaces in the old neighborhoods of Addis Ababa; through the eyes of the people and in recording their essence. Therefore, the process is going to cover two aspects. The first aspect is the physical and spatial aspects such as spatial configurations and transformations and to cover those areas the following question is put forwarded:

1. What are the main physical and spatial characteristics of the shared residential open spaces in old neighborhoods of Addis Ababa?

ƒ- How are the different spaces configured?

-ƒ What are the types and degree of transformations evident in them from the formative to the current date?

-ƒ Is it possible to excerpt categories of spaces and transformations?

And the relationship between the spaces and the dwellers; socio-cultural aspect such activities, meanings, behaviors, communication and perceptions. Therefore to answer this the following question is poised:

2. How do the dwellers use and relate to the shared residential open spaces in old neighborhoods of Addis Ababa?

-ƒ What are the type and character (“the way of doing them” and values attached) of activities executed in the compounds?

-ƒ How do dwellers perceive their compounds?

-ƒ What type of territorial behaviors and markers are evident in the compound?

-ƒ How do dwellers communicate by and in the environment in the compounds?

The secondary aim is to pinpoint attributes that can easily be adapted in the planning and design of new residential open spaces, so that people can easily acclimatize themselves readily with the new spaces since they are derived from their schemata of experiences. Therefore, to respond to that, the following question is poised:

3. How can the lessons learned be taken to future shared residential open spaces planning and design?

1.5 Organization of the research

1.1.1 Thesis structure

The research is organized in to 6 chapters as per the following table:

Table 1-1 organization of the research

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1.1.2 Research design

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Figure 1-1the research design diagram

2. Chapter


2.1 Introduction

According to (Yin, 2003) there are mainly five methodological approaches to do a social science research: case study, experiment, survey, history and archival analysis. Each strategy has its own way of collecting and analyzing data or “empirical evidence” and advantages and disadvantages regarding the challenges in finding comprehensive, unbiased, valid information and scientifically valid method of analysis.

Table 2-1the different research strategies

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All the strategies can be used to serve the three purposes of a research: explaining, exploring and describing. Therefore all of them can be directed to explanatory, exploratory and descriptive ends. From the different strategies the one appropriate for a specific research can be picked based on the three conditions suggested by Yin: The three conditions consist of

a) The type of research question posed,

b) The extent of control an investigator has over actual behavioral events, and

c) The degree of focus on contemporary as opposed to historical events.

The type of research question can indicate the type of research strategy to be used but will not categorically determine it .For instance as stated on Yin; “What” questions in the exploratory sense (where the goal is to develop hypotheses and propositions for further inquiry) can be answered by all the five strategies. However “What” questions in the sense of “how many” and “how much” can only be answered through a survey or archival analysis.

Secondly, the extent of control over behavioral events has an implication on the choice of method. Where there is no access or control on the events and respective individuals are not there to testify, historical method is the most appropriate method. However, in a condition where the behaviors cannot be manipulated and the events are contemporary (the possibility of direct observation and interviews), case studies are the preferred method. Moreover as Johnson (2003) stated it, in the field of architecture and planning where the focus is in physical artefact the difference between history and case studies will disappear, resulting in the overlap of case studies and history.

Case studies allow the evaluation of wide range of evidence: documents, artifacts2, interviews, and observation. Experiments while in contrary require the systematic manipulation of behaviors or the control or limitation of variables. In addition using “quasi-experimental” Strategy is possible where there might be no control over behavior and there is a scope specific event in the past.

2.2 Choice of method

For this particular research case study research strategy is selected for the below stated reasons:

2.2.1 Case study method

Case study research method is chosen to do this particular research because of the main intent of the research; which is to comprehend the respective shared open spaces in the neighborhood as a social and cultural product or phenomena: where people perception, imagination, thought, emotion, desire, volition, and action are involved. Where the phenomena is viewed as process that started sometime in the past and still going (contemporary) and deeply rooted in the context to the point where it is difficult to understand one without the other.

As Yin describes it; case study is appropriate when the inquiry tries to investigate a contemporary phenomenon3 within its real-life context, especially when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident but when it is still a “bounded system” as (Stake, 2005) defined it. However not all the influencing features of the system are totally bounded, some might be outside of it (Stake, 2005). In this particular research the compounds also are not just physical containers (physical artifacts) but rather a system (places; deeply intertwined with the dwellers) which started some time in the past and still going.

The other feature which make case study more appropriate for this study is: the presence of few units of analysis (cases) and many variables. And according to Johansson (2003); a case study focuses on one case and consideration of the context encompassing many variables and qualities. These conditions makes it “explicative” as opposed to “experimental” (one unit of analysis and a few isolated variables) and “reductive” (many units of analysis and a few variables).

2.3 Selection of the case areas and compounds

2.3.1 Case areas selection

According to Johansson; the case may be a relatively bounded object or a process; it may be theoretical, empirical, or both. At a minimum, a case is a phenomenon specific to time and space. In this particular research; the initial task (as the title of the research implies) was to narrow down the study area from Addis Ababa to the older part of the city, since the study is dedicated to the old neighborhoods of Addis Ababa. As per (Elias, 2008), the older part of the city is as shown above in Figure 3b.and the particular map is projected to the current setting by overlapping with Figure 4a. (New Line Map 2005) and the older areas are pinpointed.

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Figure 2-1Settlement development of Addis Ababa,

Source: Addis Ababa and the surrounding Oromia Special Zone Integrated Development Plan (draft proposal),2013

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Figure 2-2an overlap of the old inner-city area and the current sub cities S d t df Eli (2008)

As a result much of the older areas are traced, in succession (in order of their size) in the present Kirkos, Arada, Gullele and Addis Ketema sub-cities respectively. From the top Kirkos and Arada are initially chosen and of the two Arada; specifically: Former Woreda 01 is picked because of its centrality and it holds the most renowned earlier neighborhoods of Addis Ababa such as Dejach Wube Sefer, Gedam Sefer, Doro Maneqia and Datsun Sefer and (as Elias pointed it out in his brief account of the formation of the city) the prominent St George Church (Arada Giorgis) and the living quarter of the legendary warriors Ras Mekonen and Ras Mesfin.

Therefore from Arada Sub-city, former Woreda 01; the most popular neighborhoods: Dejach Wube Sefer and Gedam Sefer are specifically chosen.

2.3.2 Compound selection

Therefore the two neighborhoods are mapped back on GIS 1995 (by Nortech) Map and explored. The map is preferred because it shows the number of households surrounding each shared open space unlike more recent maps available that show only the morphology of the open spaces and 64 such sites (compounds) are picked accordingly leaving out the section of Dejach Wube Sefer already in the process of demolition during the study.

Therefore based on the following sets of criterion, which in one hand are physical, spatial and

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Figure 2-3map of the location the 64 shared compounds picked for the initial survey

Source: Base map is an overlap of Line Map 2006 & GIS 1995 (By Nortech)

functional and on the other hand: social, the final compounds are selected. The criterion are: 15

a) Spatial, physical and functional. and the spaces:
ƒ- Should be sizable enough to support wide range of activities
…Necessary activities, optional activities, Social activities, Cultural activities
ƒ- Should be convenient (free of physically impending barriers: ruggedness, buildings, elements)
ƒ- Should be clearly separated from the public domain mainly; from streets ƒ Should function only as a residential open space

b) Social . and the spaces:
ƒ- Should hold number of hhs that are critical enough to portray a deeper interweaving of relationships and spaces
-ƒ Should hold stratified population (age wise) . Children up to the elderly Therefore initially 54 compounds are ruled out because:
ƒ- 42 of them are compounds with open spaces that are narrow passageways
and are not comfortable to allow diversified activities
-ƒ 12 of them have small open spaces with respect to the built up area and number of hhs.

No such standard is available for housing in the city’s Neighborhood design manual however referring the draft structural plan guideline of Addis Ababa City (Eshetu, Saba, & Anteneh, 2014) the open spaces for high density residential areas is 10% of the total plot area and the minimum open space area per plot for private residences is 20% and the average 15% (since the scale is in between) taken to evaluate the compounds.

In addition 2 compounds are ruled out despite fulfilling the above criteria because they have few number of house holds critical enough to portray a deeper interweaving of relationships and spaces and ruled out as well. And accordingly 42 of them fall in the first category and 12 on the second and 2 on the third respectively and a total of 56 compounds are ruled out on the first phase.

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Figure 2-5 showing the 42 compounds which are ruled out because they are narrow passage way (alley) open spaces Source: Base map is an overlap of Line Map 2006 & GIS 1995 (By Nortech)

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Figure 2-6 showing the 12 compounds which are ruled out because they have small open spaces with respect to the number of hhs who are using them Source: Base map is an overlap of Line Map 2006 & GIS 1995 (By

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Figure 2-4 showing the 2 compounds which are ruled out because they have small number of hhs who are using them &cannot portray a deeper interweaving of relationships Source: Base map is an overlap of Line Map 2006 & GIS 1995 (By Nortech)

And on the remaining 8 compounds, further investigation is done through an onsite reconnaissance survey which combined visual inspection and discussion with the respective dwellers. And the following 4 compounds further ruled out because of the below illustrated reasons shown in the legend of the figure below.

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Figure 2-7 showing 4 compounds that are ruled out because they are inconvenient, not functioning as a residential open space and not clearly separated from the street.

Source: Base map is an overlap of Line Map 2006 & GIS 1995 (By Nortech)

Finally only four compounds are left for this particular study of which 2 of them are in Dejach Wube and the remaining 2 are within Gedam Sefer boundary.

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Figure 2-8showing the final 4 compounds that are studied

Source: Base map is an overlap of Line Map 2006 & GIS 1995 (By Nortech)

2.4 Purpose of data collection

The purpose of data collection is mainly to understand the character, use and transformations of the shared compounds primarily through the experiences of the dwellers and the researcher’s personal observation in some aspects wherever it is necessary. The data collected were focused on the following key issues:

ƒ- Historical background
-ƒ Economic, political, social and cultural contexts ƒ The physical setting
ƒ- Spatial configurations and transformations
-ƒ Type and character of activities and how they are configured in space and time
-ƒ Dwellers meaning and perception ƒ Territorial behaviors and markers
-ƒ Communications (by the environment and in the environment) ƒ Perceptions

2.5 Data sources and collection techniques

Earlier research practices were dominated by quantitative practices (positivist approach) and later qualitative practices (post-positivist approach) became essential especially in the social and human sciences sphere; raising arguments about the appropriateness of one above the other. However, the situation today is less quantitative versus qualitative and more how research practices lie somewhere on a continuum between the two. For this particular research both practices are used to portray the cases realistically and collected primarily through onsite interviews and discussions with the dwellers, mapping surveys and observations

The techniques employed to collect those data are the following:

2.5.1 Semi-structured in-depth interviews

The inhabitants from the selected compounds were interviewed based on a readymade data collection questionnaire form and mainly this method is chosen:

-ƒ To avoid the tediousness of filling a long list of questions which may make the people in question bored and slack.

ƒ- To make the collector and the people more familiar with each other and develop trust between each other; leveling the way for further data collection methods to be employed later.

ƒ- To administer questions in ways conformable to the age, sex, educational and social backgrounds of the inhabitants in question.

2.5.2 Mapping

During investigations, maps and plans of the area are important to grip the economic and social life of a people (Lawrence A. Kuznar, Oswald Werner, 2001) .According to Maceachren, starting from the earlier introduction by the Greeks, mapping has been useful since in portraying the distribution of various phenomena in space at certain points in time or as the representation of perceptions of these distributions. And he further classified the type of data (physical or cultural (behavioral)) into two: qualitative (i.e., illustrating relative locations of phenomena in space) or quantitative (i.e., illustrating difference in magnitude of phenomena located in space) (Maceachren, 1979).

The methodology employs point/s, line/s and area/s to symbolize phenomena. Points are used to locate a particular phenomenon in space or aggregate its location. Different variations are possible by varying the shape, color and size of points. Line symbols are used to designate connectivity or flow, equal values along the line, and boundaries between unlike areas. Different variations are possible by varying their form (e.g., continuous versus broken), color and width. Area symbols are used to assign a characteristic or value to a whole area on a map. Differentiation of area symbols is achieved through variations in color (i.e., value, hue, and intensity) and pattern (Maceachren, 1979).

According to Kuznar and Oswald, measurements taken from spaces claimed by communities (dwellers), can be done either using measuring tapes or pacing to avoid obtrusion and discomfort due to peoples sensitivity to space. And the spatial information gathered will be accurate if not precise if the collector uses proper datum points during the time of measurement (Oswald Werner, Lawrence A. Kuznar, 2001) and triangulation techniques.

For this particular research, different maps are produced based on onsite measurements taken and the dwellers description and the main focus areas were: activities and the hosting spaces, different man-made and natural elements in the compound, spatial layers and transformations.

The measurements are taken using, Line Map 2006 map as a base map, an electronic tape, pacing and referring the most familiar modular building envelop member: CIS sheet4.

2.5.3 Time Diaries

Based on Asquith’s account of time diaries; they are just diaries where individuals under study record their activities in relation to time and space which later can be further studied against age and gender. It is a cumbersome method since it entails a level of commitment, wit and understanding of the participants. However if executed properly, it can effectively elucidate the essence of each individual’s daily pattern of space use (Asquith, 2006).

For this research originally time diaries were chosen as a method for the very reason mentioned above however due to its cumbersomeness all the dwellers were unwilling to do it for more than a week. So the information that might have been got about the daily pattern of space use are insufficient due to the shortness of the recording spell nonetheless they were supplemented by the in-depth interviews to get the whole picture and to know the communication level among dwellers while doing them.

2.5.4 Photographs

As per Pinks description of the use of photography as a main method of doing a social science research; it can take three forms; making or producing photographs of a community under study, examining pre existing photographs of the community or collaborating with the community to take pictures themselves (Pink, 2007). For this particular research, since photography is not the main preferred method of doing the research and the difficulty of implementing the last two forms, making photographs by the researcher himself is the preferred method in a quest for what Pink termed it as a photographic survey.

A photographic survey is a kind of cultural inventory where different elements, activities and spaces are recorded. However, the method has limitations due to the subjective (Schwartz, 1989) nature of photography. The subjectivity may put it against the basis of phenomenology and became just a reflection of the photographer’s view or just an art (Schwartz, 1989). Therefore to avoid falling in to such pitfalls, photographs are taken based on the cues provided by the dwellers themselves and focused, as much as possible, on the depiction of the environment contingent to the dwellers narratives.

Therefore, the researcher has strategically chosen to engage beforehand with the dwellers in question using other modalities to get peoples accounts, to be familiar and in order to establish himself locally as someone who is trusted to take photographs (Pink, 2007) (which is one of the main challenges of photography).

2.6 Data analysis techniques

The data collected by the abovementioned techniques are analyzed separately for each compound and later all the four compounds are analyzed together. The techniques employed are:

ƒ- Comparative pattern matching of activities, space configurations, physical elements and behaviors between each household within a given compound and Crosscompound analysis among the four compounds.

ƒ- Statistical computation and comparisons referring the maps developed.

ƒ-ƒ Semantic differentials

As per Lawson’s definition: It is the simplest technique to understand the emotions, feelings and reactions of people about a specific space. It is a way to find out the judgment and perception of people about things (space: since it is the focus of this research) by asking people to respond to a stimulus created by introducing diametrically opposite adjectives placed in succession of dimensions. For instance there can be five up to seven gradients (based on studies in the field, it is the maximum gradient that people can grasp) between the adjectives ‘Dirty’ and ‘Clean’, therefore the judgment can lean towards either or stay in the middle. The technique is developed based on the studies that showed: People’s judgment about things is contingent to a limited number of constructs. Therefore, for instance, it is possible to understand dweller’s perception of space using adjectives that can be categorized under major factors (Rothwell, 1974) that can later be related with other factors such as perception-age, perception-economic conditions etc.

-ƒ Mood… (Peaceful, outside, homey, safe, dull) ƒ
-ƒAesthetics…(Discordant, clean, unusual) ƒ
-ƒPhysical dimension (Small)

However, semantic differentials are doubtful in producing any fundamental theoretical and conceptual truths about place. But it can be useful; in providing a simple method of comparing how an individual or group feels about two or more places or in illuminating how different groups of people view the same place (Lawson, 2001).

2.7 Validity and reliability

To construct validity in this research, the researcher used multiple sources of evidences (and their convergence) and triangulations for each compound (Yin, 2003). And later the four compounds are evaluated together to find some level of uniformity of results.

Abbildung in dieser leseprobe nicht enthalten

Reliability of the research is contingent on making sure that if a later investigator followed the same procedures as described by an earlier investigator and conducted the same case study all over again, the later investigator should arrive at the same findings and conclusions (Yin, 2003). Therefore, as per Yin’s suggestion, a case study data base is appropriately documented and kept to follow the same procedures to study similar cases whenever necessary.

2.8 Discussion on the choice of method

The main aim of these research is to understand the character, use and transformations of shared compounds in the old neighborhoods of Addis Ababa and it will be what Croswell named it as “constructive”. Where the full picture shall be painted by the dwellers themselves: social constructivism. The meanings will be subjective; resulting in diversified opinions, meanings and realities. And the research embraces this diversity and keen in searching for the complexity of views rather than narrowing meanings into a few categories or ideas. The main features of the philosophical claims of the research are as follows as stated in (Creswell, 2003):
-ƒ Meanings are constructed by human beings as they engage with the world they are interpreting. Therefore to achieve that the data collection techniques for this particular research are made to be more open-ended so that inhabitants have the full liberty of expressing themselves and portray their image in the compounds. ƒ
-Humans engage with their world and make sense of it based on their historical and social perspective. We are all born into a world of meaning bestowed upon us by our culture. Hence the data collection for this particular research was directed to be more personal and contingent to the context: the physical, social, historical and cultural in which the interpretation was shaped by the researcher’s experience and background as well.
-ƒ The basic generation of meaning is always social, arising in and out of interaction with a human community. Consequently this particular research was made to become more inductive, where the meanings are created from the data collected and observations in the field.

In addition different theoretical (in the Literature Review) concepts are used to develop a roadmap (blue print) to the preparation of the framework for the data collection procedures and their analysis.

3. Chapter


3.1 About space & place

The discourse about space by far is dominated by two major concepts: conceptual space and lived space. As per Dovey (1985); conceptual space is an abstract homogeneous continuum and more objective while lived space is a concrete and meaning-centered bodily experience and more subjective.

3.2 Conceptual space

The discussion around conceptual space is concentrated mainly on the objectivity of space: on how it is defined and its existence5. Therefore much of the dialogue is about weather space is just an abstract background or a negative to substantive forms or positives or an entity that can stand by itself or a positive.

For the first group, space is a kind of a backdrop to other objects of attention. It is alleged to be dependent to objects and their relationships, because of its abstract qualities and nature. A space is something that has been made room for, something that is cleared and free, namely within a boundary, Greek peras. A boundary is not that at which something stops but, as the Greeks recognized, the boundary is that from which something begins its presencing (Heidegger, 2007).Therefore spaces acquire their being from objects or locations, not from their own very existence. Or in a more conclusive terms, space is just a continuous redundant expanse (Lefebvre, 1991) or “landscape” (Norberg-Schulz, 1976) which can be contained and released by defining objects or enclosure or settlement (Norberg-Schulz, 1976), creating: an infinite inside and outside (Norberg-Schulz, 1976).

The second group stress the importance of space highlighting the interdependence of one with the other. Despite the notion of space getting its very essence from its definers, still the definers

depend on it for their presence as well; or it is “the gap between objects giving them their very meaning and identity” (Heidegger, 2007) and it is still where the most essential attribute lies: utility (Ching, 2007) . Therefore it is worth recognizing space as it is (in the same terms as objects), not just as a subordinate entity or being. Or as Merleau-Ponty puts it, as quoted in Dovey (1985)

Space is not the setting (real or logical) in which things are arranged, but the means whereby the positing of things becomes possible [It is] a certain possession of the world by my body, a gearing of my body to the world ... a pact . . . which gives me the enjoyment of space and gives to things their direct power over my body.

Whatever space and time mean, place and occasion mean more. For space in the image of man is place, and time in the image of man is occasion.

Aldo Van Eyck (Lawson, 2001)

3.3 Lived space (place)

Lived space is a subjective space. A space will be a lived space (place) when it incorporate further attributes beside the natural and man-made elements which makes it. It requires to be identified by & with people, where those elements are ordered in a unique way including history and associations (Bell, 2004). Or it should be a “home” with a unique location and connectedness to a subject/s /dweller/. It is rooted and grows not only from the personal and social state of the dweller but also from the environment (context) or what Norberg-Schulztermed it as the character /unique/, its genius loci. (Dovey, 1985)

As of the discussion on public places by Carmona, Heath, Oc. & Tiesdell (2003), that 'physical setting', 'activities', and 'meanings' constitute the three basic elements of the identity of places. However, there is a general tendency to associate uniqueness just with the physical setting, in reality different cultures have their own specific preference. Activities and meanings may be as, or more, important in creating a sense of place as the physical setting. Therefore the element to be stressed is contingent to the culture of the society in question.


1 new household formation and dilapidation

2 Buildings and settlements of all kinds, and at all levels, are significantly underpinned by configurational non-discursivity. It is through this that buildings-and indeed built environments of all kinds-become part of ‘the transmission of culture through artifacts’ 30 , (Hiller, 2007)

3 The Oxford English Dictionary presents the following definition: “Phenomenology”. a. The science of phenomena as distinct from being (ontology). b. That division of any science which describes and classifies its phenomena. The root of the word is Greek: phainomenon, which means appearance. ”Phenomenology studies structures of conscious experience as experienced from the first-person point of view, along with relevant conditions of experience. We all experience various types of experience including perception, imagination, thought, emotion, desire, volition, and action

4 Size= 90cm x 200cm.

5 As of its own right

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Characteristic Use And Transformation Of Open Spaces In Old Neighborhoods Of Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa University  (Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development)
Housing and Sustainable Development
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characteristics, transformation, open, spaces, neighborhoods, addis, ababa
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Daniel Negash (Author), 2016, Characteristic Use And Transformation Of Open Spaces In Old Neighborhoods Of Addis Ababa, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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