Urban land use efficiency in Ethiopia: An assessment of urban land use sustainability in Addis Ababa

N.H. Koroso*, J.A. Zevenbergen, M. Lengoiboni

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

85 Citations (Scopus)
428 Downloads (Pure)


In Ethiopia, since 1993, urban land lease policy has been in place to facilitate land transfer for residential, commercial and industrial purposes. As a result, many cities, including Addis Ababa, have witnessed enormous boundary expansion mainly through farmland conversion. Over the past two decades, though Addis Ababa experienced rapid spatial boundary expansion, very little is known about urban land use efficiency (ULUE) of the city. This paper analysed ULUE using remote sensing data. Emphasis was given to the assessment of spatiotemporal land use changes since 2004. Satellite imagery analysis was done using ArcGIS software. Besides, quantitative and qualitative data from secondary sources were studied. Moreover, field observation was conducted. Research findings showed that in almost all expansion frontiers (Bole and Akaki-Kaliti sub-cities) there is a prevalence of urban land use inefficiencies, i.e. pervasive practices of land hoarding and land use fragmentation. Urban sprawl is rampant with a significant part of the land transferred being left vacant or underutilised for years. The problem of ULUE in the country could be mainly attributed to institutional weaknesses, i.e. urban land lease policy gaps, particularly, in areas of lease policy implementation. To improve land productivity, limit eviction and ensure sustainable urban growth, the city should emphasise on improving ULUE. This study highlighted that a mere policy formulation is not enough to ensure efficient urban land use. To achieve land lease policy goals, strengthening institutions, working towards improving institutional functionality, is what policymakers should focus on.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105081
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalLand use policy
Early online date15 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • GIS
  • Land institutions
  • Land lease policy
  • Remote sensing
  • Urban land use sustainability
  • Urban sprawl
  • Urbanization
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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