According to a new study, Ethiopia’s urban land use efficiency (ULUE) is low, and land hoarding and underutilization are widespread. Although there are minor differences, the density of built-up land is low in all cities.

The study primarily reveals systemic challenges in the quality and approaches of land policy formulation, as well as the capacity of land institutions to implement policy.

Study Topic

Urban Land Use Efficiency In Ethiopia – A Remote Sensing and Land Policy Based Analysis

Background of the Study

Developing countries, including Ethiopia, are experiencing rapid urbanisation, leading to massive growth and expansion of cities. Rapid urbanisation has implications for both the built environment and peri-urban areas.

In built-up areas, for example, it affects the supply of urban land and housing, and urban infrastructure. Also, it affects agricultural land and biodiversity in peri-urban areas. Uncontrolled rapid urbanisation undermines efforts to ensure sustainable urbanisation.

Sustainable urbanisation is indispensable for sustainable resource use, economic development and urban services, and to address various problems associated with urbanisation. One way of achieving sustainable urbanisation is by promoting compact urbanisation.

An important part of achieving compact urbanisation is ensuring the efficient use of urban land. This can be achieved if there is an appropriate or conducive institutional environment. There is evidence that several developing countries lack urban land use policies that are essential for sustainable urban land use and/or an effective institutional environment for achieving them.

Purpose of the Study

In order to know whether a city/country is on the path of sustainable urbanisation, it is imperative to understand how urban land is used and the factors that influence it.

The aim of this study was to investigate the mode of urban land use in Ethiopia. In doing so, we examined the role that urban land policy has played in ensuring or undermining sustainable urban land use in the country.

In relation to this, the study assessed the limitations of the current land policy instruments. The study also examined the role of the overall institutional environment in a country in determining the outcomes of land policy or institutions.

Key Findings of the Study

  • In Ethiopia, the findings revealed that in the cities studied, urban land use efficiency (ULUE) is low.
  • Land hoarding and underutilisation of land are widespread. The density of built-up land is low in all cities, although there are minor differences.
  • A comparison of residential and industrial land revealed that in several cities, the efficiency of land use by residential areas is better than the efficiency of land use by industrial areas.
  • A low ULUE seems to be the main factor behind the persistent outward expansion and unrestrained urban sprawl.
  • Unless the current approach to urban land use is revised and addressed, ULUE and its sustainability are jeopardized.
  • The quality of land policy, primarily its effectiveness, plays an important role in improving or undermining urban land use.
  • Gaps in land policy formulation and implementation have led to large-scale land hoarding, urban sprawl and informal settlement, which are the main reasons for low urban land use efficiency in the study areas.
  • The study showed that land institutions, even after land policy reforms, might not guarantee success under circumstances where the overall institutional environment is weak.

About the Researchers

Nesru Koroso is a PhD student in the department of Urban and Regional Planning and Geo-Information Management. Supervisor is J.A. Zevenbergen and co-supervisor is dr. M.N. Lengoiboni from the faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation.

DATE: Thursday 8 September 2022 12:30 – 13:30

LINK: The PHD Defense of Nesru Koroso Will Take Place (Partly) Online And Can Be Followed By A Live Stream through the following LINK


The opinions expresses here in the post "Results of a New Study Identified Systemic Challenges in Ethiopia’s Urban Land Use Efficiency" are those of the individua's contributor(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Business Info Ethiopia , BIE Intelligence PLC, its publisher, editor, or any of its other contributors.


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