Scholarly article on topic 'The Rates and Effects of Urban Sprawl in Developing Countries: The Case of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia'

The Rates and Effects of Urban Sprawl in Developing Countries: The Case of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Academic research paper on "Social and economic geography"

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Academic research paper on topic "The Rates and Effects of Urban Sprawl in Developing Countries: The Case of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia"

FEKADU KASSA. The Rates and Effects of Urban Sprawl in Developing Countries 135 DOI: 10.2478/ijas-2014-0009



The Rates and Effects of Urban Sprawl in Developing Countries: The Case of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Abstract: This paper presents the rate and effects of urban sprawl in Ethiopia highlighting the city of Addis Ababa. The purpose is to assess the rate and effects of urban sprawl and its role for metropolitan linkage. The study was conducted based on both primary and secondary sources. The primary sources were obtained from selected informants who can be principally distinguished as key government officials such as mayor and head of sub-cities and selected satellite towns. The qualitative approaches used were based on document and content analysis. The rate of urban sprawl along the five outlets of the city is dissimilar. The highest growth rate of urban spread has been observed along the Mojo outlet stretching to the towns of Dukem and Debrezeit; the rate of spread along the Jimma outlet to Alem Gena is also high. A lesser extent of urban sprawl is found along Dessie, Gojam and Nekemite outlets. The rate of urban sprawl along the Mojo and Jimma outlets is more than double that of the other outlets. Holistically, in 2010, the growth of the city stretched along its catchments for an average of about 1 km in all direction, and 2 km along the major outlets. From 2020 onward, it is predicted to 0.5 km intervals. The city may also expand vertically rather than horizontally. Urban sprawl has both positive and negative effects on the areas of expansion and their peoples. The positive effects are that it contributes to improvements in the economy of farmers in the invaded areas, changes their way of life to an urban style, and the indigenous peoples also have a better chance of being reclassified as urban and therefore of engaging in urban employment than under the previous system of farming. This development also plays a significant role in the urban growth of the city and the integration of satellite areas. Thus, the rate of urban growth of the city is very high. The ideal prescription would be to practice strong integrative work with the sub-cities and proximate rural areas in order to encourage timely and proper supervision and to bring the required growth to the city.

Key terms: Conurbation, Metropolis, Metropolitan Linkage, Corridor and Urban sprawl


Ethiopia is found in the Horn of Africa and has an area of approximately 1,221,900 square kilometres; it is nearly the size of France, Germany and the United Kingdom combined (AACC, 2009). Ethiopia is geographically located

at 3°-15°N and 33°-48°E (ERA, 2005 and CSA, 2007). The elevation ranges from 1,500 to 3,000 metres above sea level. The World Bank (2008) states that, as of 2007, Ethiopia has a population of 76.5 million, but the current population of Ethiopia will be more than 80 million, making the nation the second most populous in Africa, after Nigeria. The population will reach 106 million by 2020 (CSA, 1998) and the projection is for 180 million in 2050 (Oladele, 2010).

The physical set-up of Addis Ababa is that it is found at the heart of the nation, located at 9°02,-9°03,N 38°44'-38°74'E (ERA, 2005 and CSA, 2007). It is the capital and largest city in Ethiopia, with a population of 3,384,569 according to the 2007 population census (CSA, 2007). Various estimates say that by 2020 the city is expected to have about 6-7 million inhabitants (Ignis 2008). The City of Addis Ababa has the dual status of both a city and a state capital (CSA, 2007 and MoFED, 2006) (Map 1). Map 1: the geographic placement of Ethiopia and the capital, Addis Ababa.

Various studies and dictionaries define conurbation as a continuous network of urban communities. Merriam Webster defines it is a large area that consists of cities or towns that have grown up to have very little space between them. Conurbation shares a similar meaning to the phrase urban sprawl, with slight differences. A city is an area containing a large number of people, formed by various sub-units that grow and join together. As explained by Décio and Ugalde (2007) conurbation refers to the structures of the parts grasped within the metropolitan structure. Pertaining to the type of urban sprawl, it can be noted that Jaroslaw (2008) explains that a conurbation grows in a spontaneous manner, but can also be artificially accelerated. In some case, this expansion is undertaken overnight or within a few working days.

Andrea and Décio's (2009) study in Brazil confirms that conurbation and urban sprawl are international and national. The international conurbation is one formed by cities that grow along the border between two or three countries, whereas national conurbation and urban sprawl increase their potential for the occurrence of innovation in metropolitan areas that combine a critical mass and diversity of people. The focus of this study is on this type of conurbation and urban sprawl, rather than the international; it includes conurbation between regions and local areas within a single nation. Industrial and non-industrial conurbations are identified as belonging to this sector. The industrial type of conurbation comes about due to the spread and number of industries along communication routes. Non-industrial spread comes about due to the availability of non-industrial activities, including the service sector, settlement patterns and for other reasons.

Decio and Ugalde (2007) also perceive that intense industrial activity takes place in this territory, which produces significant urban growth. Slowly, the urban areas in Brazil started to connect with each other and formed a new space at another scale disregarding the administrative city limits. The Porto Alegre Metropolitan Area comprises 31 municipalities of which 13 constitute the main conurbation. Andrea and Decio (2009) say that the conurbation becomes visible beyond geographic and landscape barriers, even in some cases where the conurbation has no geographical barrier, resembling one whole city. The constituent cities are still treated (in political and urban planning) as isolated urban spaces, and the social and cultural parameters of each identity is easily perceived in the urban configuration. However, the notion of conurbation is not only seen from the point of view of growth, in rare cases shrinking conurbations can also be seen.

The formation of conurbations has various causes and effects. Among these, the fact that the conurbation is generally created due to urbanisation and industrialisation is the strongest. It is an indicator that urbanisation is a consequence of significant transformations in the national economies and social expectations in both separated towns/cities. So they have a close and strong correlation with conurbation (Andrea Da Costa Braga et al, 2012). In addition to urbanisation, the geographic proximity of places and the distribution of industry have been factors in the formation of conurbations. For instance, Jaroslaw (2008) describes the Katowice conurbation as a classic mining conurbation in Poland. It is associated not simply with mining ore but with the mining industry. Rasul Shams (1988) says that geographic proximity in developing countries is an essential factor for natural integration processes. It gives additional stimulus to trade activity between the countries and the preconditions for dynamic growth. Geographic proximity is an essential factor for both internal and international integration of neighbouring cities or towns, and also countries. It is also due to the natural integration that carried out around a Pivot area.

One of the critical factors for the creation and expansion of conurbations and urban sprawl is population pressure and settlement patterns. A United Nations report (2004) indicated that half of the global population lives in cities and estimated that this will rise to sixty per cent by 2030. In Nigeria and other developing countries, population in cities is projected to increase from 1.9 billion in 2000 to 3.9 billion in 2030. This is principally because of rural-to-urban migration, which is a consequence of dichotomous planning and development. In Africa, estimates have shown that between 1990 and 2020, half a billion people will be added to already overcrowded conurbations, as against the less than 200 million people in North

America and Europe (Population Centre (2000) as cited in Abdullahi et al (2009)).

However, population growth isn't only an issue for Third World countries; it is also a factor for First and Second World countries. The population of Great Britain also grew by about one and a half million people, or 2.7% of its 1991 population, between 1991 and 2001. The population of the cities taken together also grew by 244,000, a 1% growth rate (i.e. less than half the growth rate of Great Britain as a whole). However, this figure masks important differences between cities. London grew very rapidly, especially inner London, which is the fastest growing district in the country. The capital gained just under half a million people (479,000) in the 1990s, a 7% gain (Lee Boon Thong, 2005).

The other agents that accelerate conurbation growth are the accessibility of transport services and the connectivity of roads. According to Werner and Erhard (2003), the settlement pattern of an area is produced subsequent to the road system. However, what is often overlooked is that the significant conurbation features are produced by travel over short distances for the sake of work, education, shopping, personal business, leisure and others. This feature is observed everywhere, including Ethiopia.

The consequences of conurbation also have various effects both on the place of invaders and the invaded. Conurbation also opens job opportunities for local or indigenous peoples at the local level. According to Lee Boon Thong (2005), describing the effects of conurbation in Nigeria, the word indigenous, meaning 'sons of the soil', incorporated that to be absorbed into urban centres and engagement is based employment in order to eliminate the economic differentiation between the Malays and the non-Malays. Lastly, conurbation performs agglomeration process.

This study seeks the reality of the situation, and to provide a global portrait and relate that insight to the rate and effects of urban sprawl in Africa and Ethiopia. As part of the experience of nations as a whole, the nature and formation of urban sprawl is often ignored, and when recognised, it is often maligned. Therefore, this researcher would like to fill this gap and try to investigate the rate and effects of urban sprawl and conurbation as well. This study attempts to bridge this gap by focusing on comprehensive analysis of the main issues together with some remedies in Africa at large and Ethiopia in particular.

Objectives and methodology

The specific objectives are to examine the rate of urban sprawl and its effect. The methodological procedure used is a qualitative approach via

document and content analysis. This includes an open-ended questionnaire, interviews and standardised observation schedules (Grey 2009). As to this study, the primary sources were obtained via interview. Structured interview (questionnaire) was used for selected informants, principally key government officials from the mayor's office and the offices of the heads of the sub-cities, as well as experts selected from the mayors' offices of nearby cities such as Debrezeit, Dukem, and Sebeta. They were selected by using convenient sampling because they were busy and it was difficult to meet them at their offices. The observation was guided by a check-list that focused on the overwhelming situation of city growth at the outlets. Focus group discussions were also made with users of periphery sites comprising 4 or 5 targeted participants. Other data were gathered by phone interview with those officials who were not available at their offices. The other data analysis techniques were GIS and Google Earth software.

Results and discussions

Rate of urban sprawl

In this section the rate of conurbation and urban sprawl is stated by observing the physical expansion and area coverage of Addis Ababa. Historically, the city was settled in 1886. Horizontally, the city expanded to 1,863 hectares in the fifty-year period from 1886 to 1936. Table 3 displays the growth rate, which peaked between 1976 and 1985, at 6% growth. This is indicative of the growth rate over last 100 years, although it began to decline between 1986 and 1995 to 2.4%. Finally, table 3 shows very low growth in the last period. According to this trend, the future horizontal growth rate of the city will reach zero. The total horizontal built-up area has increased in the last 126 years to about 16,000 hectares. However, whatever the recorded growth rate, formal urban sprawl is going to be low, although informal squatting is increasing. As can be seen in figures 2 and 3, and table 2, the early development of the city from 1886 to 1936 was commonly characterised by fragmented settlements. Following Italian occupation in 1937, the process of the physical development of Addis Ababa was characterised by infill development and the consolidation of formerly fragmented settlements (ORAAMP, 1999: 6 and Mesfin, 2009). During the period 1937 to 1975, the physical expansion of the built-up area of the city was characterised by a compact type of development. For instance from 1976 to 1985, the built-up area was amplified by 4,788 hectares, thus increasing the cumulative total to 10,838 hectares.

Figure 1: The major outlets and area of conurbation and urban sprawl of the city

Source: adapted from Google Earth in 2013

The next period of physical expansion of the city occurred between 1986 and 1995, when the built-up area expanded by 2,925.3 hectares, increasing the cumulative total coverage of the area to 13,763.3 hectares. Simultaneously, horizontal expansion also took place in all peripheral areas of the city because both legal and squatter settlements were established. The growth rate of the city is declining because the rate of squatting in the city is reducing due to the strong supervision of the government. The other reason for the decline of urban sprawl was the government restriction, by law, that lessened the occupation of farmers' land. This also impedes the growth rate of squatting in the city.

This restriction contributes to the reduction in horizontal expansion at the periphery of the city; although it is because of this that the city began to show vertical growth. The government pays particular attention to the fact that the growth of the city has become aspects. The central part of the city totally changed to incorporate vertical construction and the demolishing of slum sites because of new government development initiatives that introduced a policy of urban demolition of slums. To a lesser extent, this policy is also because of the provision of condominium house provision by the government. Thus, the two-dimensional expansion of the city is on average reducing. However,

the total-built-up area of the city shows an average rise of 1% per year. Out of a total of 94,135 housing units built in the city between 1984 and 1994, 15.7% (14,794 housing units) were built by squatters (ORAAMP, 2001: 6), a significant contribution to both urban sprawl and conurbation.

Figure 4 and table 3 show the trend of area coverage of the city in square km, a measure of the horizontal growth of the city. In 1920, or up to 100 years ago, the city had a very small footprint (33 km2) compare to the recent coverage. The total area coverage of the town was not more than 3 football pitches. But, between 1990 and 2010 it reached the size of about 60 football pitches (around 600 km2). This implies that the growth of the city has passed its maximum rate of increase. And in the future the catchment area of the city is predicted to increase to more than 900 km2 by 2050.

Total built-up area in hectares

Figure 3: The growth trend of the total built-up areas and the annual growth rate (%) of total-built-up area (hectares)

Source: ORAAMP, 1999 and 2001, CSA, 2007 & Mesfin, 2009

Table 2: Area coverage of the city in km2

Year Area coverage of the city in square km Average radius from centre in km Change of radius Remark

On all sides At major 5 outlets

1920 33 R=3.25 6.5 - CSA, 2007

1984 224 R=8.49 17 5.24 CSA, 2007

1990 530 R=13 26 4.51 CSA, 2007

2000 615.44 R=14 28 1 Projected

2010 660.185 R=15 30 1 Projected

2020 706.5 R=15.5 31 0.5 Projected

2030 754.385 R= 16 32 0.5 Projected

2040 803.84 R=16.5 33 0.5 Projected

2050 907.46 R=17 34 0.5 Projected

Source: CSA 2007, and projection calculated by using the formula of circle because the shape of the country has compact shape. Area = n • r2, = A • n • d2 (the area of the circle is equal to Pie times the square of the radius, or one-fourth times Pie multiplied by the square of the diameter) where A is the area of the circle, n (Pie) is 3.14 and r is the radius.

The city in general has shown a high increase in the total built up area over the years. From the data in figures 3 and 4, and table 2. The existing area coverage and total catchment of the city are evident. In the 1920s, the area of the city is estimated to have been only 33 km2, which grew to 224 km2 in 1984 and by 1990 reached 530 km2. For the same year, ERA (2005) estimated that Addis Ababa had an area of 530.14 km2 (204.69 square mi) (CSA, 2007). In 1920, the city was bounded within an average radius of 3.25 km. After 60 years, by 1984, it had grown by an average of 1 km per decade. In total, the catchment area of the city extends from a radius of 5.24 to 6 kilometres.

Urban growth seen in the centre between 1984 and 1990 also increased

its catchment by about a 5 kilometre radius. This implies the growth of the city increased by 1 kilometre per annum in every direction. However, unprecedented change in the city occurred between 1984 and 1990, when it increased by a radius of 4.5 kilometres within six years. In this case, it is shown that less than 1km radius is seen per annum in all directions and 2 km at the major outlets. However, the growth rate of urban sprawl is seen mostly at every corner of the city. Thus, the spread of conurbation and urban sprawl at major outlet is double other parts of the city.

Figure 4: The trend of area coverage of the city in km2 over time

Source: CSA 2007 and projection calculated using the circle area formula

In general, recently the rate and condition of urban sprawl at all outlets is expected to average a radius of 15 km and double that distance (30 km) at the five major lines. Figure 2 and Table 2 show that, in 2010, holistically, the city's catchment area increased by about 1 km in all direction, and 2 km at the major outlets. And from 2020 onward, the prediction is that the city will expand by 0.5 km, mainly due to the fact that it will expand vertically rather than horizontally. However, in the future the city will also stretch on average up to 40 km along the major outlets, and correspondingly 20 km in all directions.

Table 3: Total and estimated population of Addis Ababa 1910-2015

Year Total population Average annual growth rate (%) Source

1910 65000 - ORAAMP, 1999

1935 100,000 1.72 -

1952 317,925 6.8 ORAAMP, 1999

1961 443,728 3.7 ORAAMP, 1999

1970 750,530 5.84 -

1976 1,099,851 6.37 -

1984 1,423,111 3.22 CSA, 1994

1994 2,112,737 3.95 CSA, 2007

2000 2,495,000 2.77 CSA, 2007

2004 2005 2,805,000 3.7 million 2.93 ORAAMP, 1999 and CSA, 2007 Ignis (2008) in Mesfine 2009

2010 4,568,000 - statistics/

2015 6-7 million - Ignis (2008) in Mesfine 2009

(Source: ORAAMP, 1999 and CSA, 2007 and 2010, Andrew Adam-Bradford et al., 2010 and Ignis, 2008

Tables 2 and 3 also show an annual population increase for Addis Ababa of about 6%. This is partly attributed to natural population growth of around 2.4% due to high migration from the villages. In 2005, the population in the capital itself was already approximately 3.7 million. Because of demographic uncertainties, such as high net migration and natural population increase, the exact number of inhabitants is not really known. However, by 2015 Addis Ababa is expected to host 6-7 million inhabitants (Ignis, 2008). Addis Ababa is not only the largest city in Ethiopia but also a textbook example of a primate city, as it is at least 14 times as large as Dire Dawa, the second largest city in the country. However, this primacy has been on the decline in the recent past, partly because increased capital expenditure flows to regional capitals and other major cities in the nation. As a result, Addis Ababa's share of the total urban population has dropped from 30% in 1984 to 26% in 2000 (Ignis, 2008).

As shown in Table 3, Addis Ababa's population growth pattern has been irregular throughout the greater part of its history, largely due to changes in the country's social, economic and political conditions. Official statistics show that the city today is experiencing one of its slowest ever growth rates, just slightly below 3% per annum. Even with this low growth rate, the capital continues to attract 90,000 to 120,000 new residents every year.

In general, it appears that much of this growth (probably up to 70% of the total) takes place in the slums and squatter settlements at the periphery of the city (ORAAMP, 1999). It is worth highlighting that the greater part of this growth is due more to net immigration (1.69% per annum) than to natural increase (1.21 % per annum). It is not clear why, unlike most other major cities in the developing world, Addis Ababa has such a low rate of natural increase (UNHSP, 2007). Thus, population growth contributes more to urban sprawl and less to conurbation.

Effects of urban sprawl in and around the city

The consequences of urban sprawl are both positive and negative on both areas and peoples. A considerable number of respondents' reflections and the prevailing reality of the city however indicated that it contributes more to the improvement of the lives of farmers in the invaded areas. This is because these plots of land are purchased for the construction of residential units because of high demand. This implies that they get more money, which strengthens their financial positions. The other positive effect of urban sprawl is that the lifestyles of the farmers are changed to new urban lifestyles. They can participate in the new benefits of urbanism and forget the rural style of life. According to Lee Boon Thong (2005), described that the effect of both conurbation and urban sprawl in Nigeria. Thong says that the term indigenous is refer by the word 'sons of the soils which comes towards the urban centres that to be absorbed into urban based employment in order to eliminate the economic differentiation between the Malays and the non-Malays. This implies that it also opens up job opportunities for local or indigenous peoples. Thus, it changes the means of engagement from agrarian to non-agrarian, including labour in industry and infrastructure systems, trade activities, and others.

Cultural exchange between the new and the existing cultures within society is advantageous. These exchanges make significant contributions to the urban growth of the city and the integration of satellite areas, gluing together every part of the system at the large scale and facilitating the rise of the city catchment. An obvious interdependency among the parts in terms of production/housing/ consumption is also found; they are interwoven so that each cannot exist

without the others. This implies that the new urban lifestyle is better for the integration of satellite areas with the metropolis.

The advantage also opens up the opportunity for those areas that are among the newly expanded areas. Sooner or later the government has to incorporate new areas into the old cities as per the master plan for the city in the form of urban reclassification. This action, by itself, means that illegal settlers go through a de facto legalisation process, and that also, therefore, the government begins to offer them infrastructural opportunities like roads, water, schools, electricity, health centres, and so on. The result is that for all these reasons the quality of rural life is decreasing around the major towns of the nation, and especially in the areas around the capital. Occasionally, through people moving from rural areas into urban areas, a high rate of urbanisation also appears, increasing integration between metropolitan centres and the hinterland.

The other roles of conurbation and urban sprawl are that they contribute to the formation of metropolitan linkages between towns. In this study, the road is a pioneer for the growth of the city, although this contributes more to metropolitan linkage than primarily between the nearby hinterlands and the metropolis. In this study, the prevalence of highways is unique in that it allows communications between towns and contributes to the formation of urban sprawl along the major outlets. Metropolitan growth is seen in terms of quantity and also increases the territory of the city. It also contributes to the availability and expansion of industry, infrastructure and housing. Urban sprawl behaves in a similar way to water in a flood, it simply needs an outlet through which to flow. Therefore, metropolitan linkage also contributes to the creation of urban sprawl.

However, the nature and type of conurbation around Addis Ababa is seen along the main highways of the nation. It has linked separate newer towns within a certain distance into the older one. It is clear that, in some places there is settlement along both sides of the highway. The settlement type observed around the major outlets is similar to that linear pattern. It is clear that the city did not grow in a circular way but that it spread along the highways only. It is also worth noting that the urban sprawl throughout Ethiopia as a whole has occurred in elongated patterns following road access, rather than in a circular fashion (figure 1 (e)).

With regard to its catchment, the elongated nature of urban growth comes from existing road access. In this study, the perceived sprawl along the outlets of the city lies on average perhaps 300 to 500 metres from the main road. The catchment is very high (more than 500 metres) when it reaches the towns and less when leaving the towns. In other words, a relatively huge area has been confirmed as built up although this is only near to the

city/towns. However, in the selected lines its catchment is also perceived as below 300 metres. Even at the end of the outskirts of the city, it doesn't have such features along both sides of the main road. Thus, in light of this finding, the nature and style of urban sprawl that prevails in the study area has been an emerging one, rather than a complete and sophisticated one, like that of developed countries. However, the potential areas of linkage are ranked mainly in two directions (i.e. along Mojo and Jima routes) correspondingly. And relatively less linkage emerged along Dessie, Nekemit and Gojam lines in that order.

In contrast, let see the seeming effects of urban sprawl on the farmers. The prevailing nature of both formal and informal urban sprawl is to invade the land of the farmers and forced them to sell their land for those who are economically active part of the society. The other seeming effects of urban sprawl are also forced economically in active part of the society are unable to adjust themselves with the existing urban structure. And in very rare cases former farmers are also forced into begging activities because of their lack of farmland. Thus, the farmer is forced to flee to other nearby rural areas causing rural to rural migration. In addition, indigenous peoples are removed from their former areas and are replaced by non-indigenous people. This opens up farmland totally or partially so that it is invaded by newcomers like a locust plague, displacing the indigenous peoples and others who had been settled there for long periods.

The reality perceived at the outskirts of the city is that former agricultural land is used for residential purposes allowing the formation of unplanned and unhealthy conurbation and urban sprawl and sooner or later impeding the formal growth of the city. With regard to the housing typology, in these areas of unhealthy urban sprawl houses are constructed basically and in a sub-standard form simply as a way of grabbing the land available. Therefore, the amount of rural land is decreasing around the major towns of the nation and especially around the capital. This also has adverse effect on the forests, ecology and the environment in general. Hence, for all the aforementioned factors, direct and indirect effects on both the invaded and invader have been noted.


The conclusion focuses on the objectives, methodology and findings. This paper describes the current situation of conurbation and urban sprawl in Ethiopia, highlighting the city of Addis Ababa. The study shows that the Mojo outlets located at Dukem, Debrezeit and Mojo are around 37, 47 and 73 km respectively from the centre. These corridors are strongly linked with the people who live along these lines, with road access and with industry. The average rate of the geographical expansion of the city is coming down.

However, the total built-up area of the city shows a rise of on average 1 % per year. The spread of conurbation and urban sprawl at major outlets is double that of other parts of the nation. Among others factors, population growth contributes more to urban sprawl but less to conurbation. However, other factors might contribute more to both urban sprawl and conurbation. Thus, in the light of this finding, the nature and style of conurbation and urban sprawl that prevail in Ethiopia and the study area is an emerging one. The rate of both conurbation and urban sprawl along the major outlets is double than that found in other directions. The consequence of urban sprawl has both positive and negative effects on both areas and peoples. The positive effects are that it contributes to improvements in the livelihood of farmers in the invaded areas, changes their way of living to an urban style, and that the indigenous peoples also have the opportunity to be relocated into the urban centres and engaged in urban-based employment. These factors play a significant role in the urban growth of the city and integration of satellite areas. In contrast, former farmers are sometimes forced to be involved in begging activities because of a lack of farmland. In short, it displaces the indigenous peoples from their soil.


Based on the preceding discussion, the following key points are provided as possible suggestions to improve the overall growth of the city and should lessen the rate and situation of urban sprawl. The following remedial strategies are proposed:

1. Strong integrative work with the heads of the sub-cities and the proximate rural areas by making timely and proper supervision to bring the required growth to the city.

2. The government should make an LDP (local area development plan) to improve areas along the outlets accordingly.

3. Strong and dedicated political bodies should administer the city. The mayor and the heads of different offices in the city and sub-cities should have knowledge of and qualification in, urban and urban related studies.

4. Long-term preparation and implementation of a master plan with timely and proper amendment is a must for formal growth of the city.

5. The government should think ahead about society in the areas with high rates of squatting.

6. Develop an integrated master plan for the regional capitals of the nation that controls integration with surrounding towns, for example as Addis Ababa did with surrounding the Oromia towns.

7. Require proper and timely data handling at all mayoral and sub-city levels.


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The author would like to acknowledge Addis Ababa City council for providing various secondary data. The author would also like thank Ato Bamilaku Amenite for his support on GIS work. All errors, particularly related to the field data, are the responsibility of the author. This article is designed based on a study sponsored by a UNISA bursary and the Arba Mnich University Fund.


Map1: The geographic placement of Ethiopia and the capital Addis Ababa

Source: GIS data from Addis Ababa city administration and from GPS points collected by the researcher

About Author

Fekadu KASSA

He is lecturer at Arba Minch University, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies. He obtained a BA degree in Geography from Dilla University, and an MA degree in Regional and Urban Planning at the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Addis Ababa University. He is presently working on his PhD in transport geography within the Department of Geography in UNISA, which is supported by the Ethiopian Ministry of Education.