Menged Le Sew

In cities from Accra to Nairobi, Dakar to Addis Ababa, and Dar es Salaam to Lagos, pedestrians, cyclists, public and collective transport users dominate the streets. Despite these urban realities, transport design has followed a car-centric model, creating unsafe streets, choking air pollution, endless traffic jams and deadly vehicle accidents.

Here to reimagine our cities is Menged Le Sew, meaning “Streets for People.” As Ethiopia’s open streets movement, Menged Le Sew is inspired to transform urban Ethiopia into an environment that is socially connected, ecologically sustainable, and powered by non-motorized mobility. Every month across Ethiopian cities, we open streets to people and close them to motor vehicles, creating the magic of car-free streets. Menged Le Sew is a dynamic partnership of multiple city offices, research institutes, civil society organizations and government ministries. Together we campaign to shape sustainable urban design, influence transport planning and allow urban communities to reimagine our cities and streets as spaces of social connection, clean air, safety, and mobility for all.

Menged Le Sew was born out of the Open Streets Exchange for African Cities, organized by Open Streets Cape Town in Cape Town, South Africa in 2018. The exchange brought together urban enthusiasts, cycling activists and city designers from across the continent to collectively reshape our cities and streets as spaces for people. Menged Le Sew is inspired by the Ciclovía of Bogotá, Colombia, which first emerged in the 1970s, and now opens more than 120 km of streets for people to walk, cycle and play every Sunday and public holiday.