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

TitleA Critical Review of the Application of Planning Standards and Norms in the Planning of Bahir Dar and Hawassa Cities, Ethiopia
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsWorku, M, Serbeh-Yiadom, KC, Asfaw, M
JournalDeveloping Country Studies
KeywordsIntegrated Development Plan, Land Use, Planning Standards and Norms, Structural Plan, Urban Plans

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 country3. Other secondary data sources were relevant literature, proclamations4
and web-based information on urban planning in general. A descriptive-type analysis based on seven selected
broad land use categories5 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.


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