“A dream come true”? Adolescents’ perspectives on urban relocation and life in condominiums in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
From 2006, the Ethiopian government embarked on a programme of urban redevelopment, moving people from inner-city areas to lowest cost condominium housing in the suburbs.
This journal article uses data from a longitudinal mixed-methods study that tracked adolescents before and after the move, with an eight-year interval in between, in three Young Lives sites in the capital city, Addis Ababa. It compares the views of those relocated and those who stayed behind, and the opinions of those relocated before and after their move.
The study found that condominium housing mainly benefited low- and middle-income households in transitioning to home ownership, since the poorest could not afford the deposits and monthly mortgage costs and the richest preferred to build their own houses. Overall, the move appears to have led to better housing and improved sanitation.
Students reported greater difficulties commuting to their schools in the first year; and the adolescents interviewed considered the schools and health centres in the condominiums to be of lower quality than those in their previous places of residence; however, pollution and safety became less of a concern, and improvements to things such as internet access were reported.
A significant majority of adolescents felt that the changes were mainly positive and most soon adapted to the new social environment. They appreciated the condominiums with kitchens and toilets as modern forms of housing, though social ties in the new communities tended to be weaker. Girls reported having less freedom in general but this was somewhat compensated for by mobile phones and social media.
The full article is available here in the Journal of Eastern African Studies