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Megaprojects in Addis Ababa Raise Questions about Spatial Justice

Ethiopia rolled out one of the largest housing programmes in sub-Saharan Africa. Under the Integrated Housing Development Programme, launched in 2006, about half a million housing units nationwide have been built and transferred to individuals. An estimated two million people have moved in. About a million others have registered for units in the capital city of Addis Ababa alone. The government heavily subsidises the programme, lowering the price per house. However, the long commute to job sites, the exclusion of tenants from neighbourhood committee leadership, and limited financial and political spaces for local committees has reduced opportunities for activities that promote social cohesion. Additionally, the lottery-based distribution of houses has dismantled residents’ social networks, and many expressed feeling lonely and isolated.