A Critical Review of the Application of Planning Standards and Norms in the Planning of Bahir Dar and Hawassa Cities, Ethiopia

Mulugeta Worku Fetene, Kwame C Serbeh-Yiadom, Melesse Asfaw


The article evaluates the application of planning standards and norms in the 2006/7 Integrated Development Plan (IDP) of Bahir Dar and Hawassa Cities. Although planning standards and norms meant to standardize urban land use and function across urban centers of the country have been in existence at the Federal level since 2005, later revised in 2012, their implementation at the city level has not always been as required. This is a review of how the IDP’s of Bahir Dar and Hawassa Cities were prepared and have since performed, taking into account the planning standards and norms of the country. The findings expose gaps between what avails as rules and regulations of planning in Ethiopia and what is actual practice on ground in the two cities’ plan. In pursuance of the set objective, primary and secondary data was used. The primary data was collected from responses to questionnaires administered on selected households at the Kebele[1] and Sub-city[2] levels in Bahir Dar and Hawassa Cities, respectively. Secondary data used included the development planning schemes – IDPs - of the two cities, both the land use plan and the accompanying socio-economic report as well as the planning and zoning standard regulation of the country[3]. Other secondary data sources were relevant literature, proclamations[4] and web-based information on urban planning in general. A descriptive-type analysis based on seven selected broad land use categories[5] is used in comparing and contrasting the planning effectiveness of the two cities and to measure the extent of compliance with regulation. Based on the findings, it is concluded that a single broad land use category namely, infrastructure and transport complied and met the standard in both Bahir Dar and Hawassa Cities as required. The remaining six broad land use categories did not fit with the earmarked percentage proportions as per the standard for the respective land uses, and deviated by at least 25 percent and at most by 75 percent.

Key Words: Planning Standards and Norms, Land Use, Urban Plans, Structural Plan, Integrated Development Plan

[1] Kebele is the lowest administrative hierarchy accountable to the municipality in Bahir Dar

[2] Sub-city is the lowest administrative hierarchy accountable to the municipality in Hawassa

[3] Revised Standards for Structure Plan Preparation and Implementation, Addis Ababa

[4] These are the laws – Acts, Decrees, etc., - passed from the Federal level of government

[5] These categories are: housing, business & commerce, social services; green and recreation, sport & environmental; administrative ; and manufacturing and storage; infrastructure & transport

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ISSN (Paper)2224-607X ISSN (Online)2225-0565

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