Urban Plans and Conflicting Interests in Sustainable Cross-Boundary Land Governance: the Case of National Urban and Regional Plans in Ethiopia
Author / Authors:
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/13/6/3081/htm
Policies and rules by which land is governed are influenced by political discourses, and decisions about land can provoke political conflicts. In contexts of vague legal framework governing property right, planning tends to produce inequality and could be observed as a political instrument of marginalization. Nevertheless, spatial planning is indispensable for ensuring sustainable and efficient land governance. In Ethiopia, urban planning is considered unjust, often associated with eviction of rural and urban residents. Indeed, recent experiences had ended up causing drastic political unrest. The paper discusses the institutional gaps in land governance by focusing on two recent urban plans (national and regional) that led to conflicts, undermining sustained socioeconomic development. For this purpose, the research uses qualitative primary and secondary data. Main sources of data are official and legal documents, the literature and interviews. The findings show that current planning practice has produced social and political tensions and conflicts. Hence, urban planning related legal provisions override citizens’ right, and vague land policy constrains interregional cooperation in planning and land governance. The paper calls for people focused planning, the revision of policy and legal frameworks to protect socially and economically vulnerable segments of the population and facilitate cross-boundary land governance.
Keywords: national urban spatial plan, integrated development plan, sustainable regional planning, cross-boundary land governance, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia