Cities, holding more than half of the global population, can in theory be a solution to the climate crisis if shaped as an inclusive urbanization able to provide sources of livelihood, housing and absorb the influx of rural-to-urban migrants that continues to characterize patterns of global migration. Ethiopia is one of Africa’s most populated and least urbanized countries and experienced rapid urbanization in its capital of Addis Ababä. The cities’ prevailing mode of urbanization, set in a context of ‘de-peasantization’ and expropriation of rural lands, deploys demolitions as a tool for clearing slums and social engineering. The social compact ensuring housing and livelihood as a fundamental right of every citizen that shaped the revolutionary period of Addis Ababä was supplanted by one’s position in the marketplace, with the idea of a right to housing rendered invisible. Lastly, mobility is increasingly securitized and regulated to keep out migrants that are categorized as undesirables.