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Sustainable Urban Development of Small Towns

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Contact Ahmed Z. Khan, Darik Z. Wuhib, Teshome Tefara
Keywords Integrated planning, Urban Metabolism, Sustainable urbanism, Public Spaces, local economic development, Governance, Green Infrastructure, Mobility, Cartrography and GIS
Prof. Luisa Moretto, La Cambre Horta, ULB, Belgium
Prof. Ahmed Z. Khan, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
Prof. Philippe Bouillard, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
Dr. Fisseha Weggayehu, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
Prof. Jan Boagaert, University of Liege, Belgium
Prof. Gregory Mahy, University of Liege, Belgium

Project Summary

Local Capacity Building for Sustainable Urban Development of Small Regional Towns in Ethiopia: the Case of Amdewerk.

The overall objective of this 5 years project is to enhance operational capacities of the stakeholders involved in the processes of urban planning and management, specifically linked to the demographic explosion of isolated towns located in large rural regions in Africa, and in Ethiopia in particular.

The specific objectives include: Through the creation of a state-of-the-art competence centre (ECIP Lab - Emerging Cities integrated Planning Laboratory) based on the active contributions of the 4 PhD students working on the project, local authorities are provided with comprehensive methodologies and tools to develop a strategic plan for small urban areas. Through the creation of a competence centre, local communities are also provided with the necessary information to propose and/or develop their own initiatives and solutions for local sustainable development.

The expected results of the project includes:

1. The scientific capacity of the EiABC is strengthened

2. An Emerging Cities Integrated Plannning lab (ECIP lab) is operational

3: A Planning manual (guidelines) for Emerging cities is drafted

To respond to the lack of planning and research on small towns, the project aims to develop, on the one hand, research capacities within the EiABC and, on the other hand, to create a multidisciplinary planning Laboratory that will operate as an interface between academic researchers, decision-makers for small towns planning and local communities. So, first of all, in order to strengthen the capacities of the EiABC in relation to research on small towns development, academic Northern and Southern partners will collaborate to supervise 4 PhD theses on the development of emerging cities in Ethiopia. The theses will have a multidisciplinary character, including social, economic, demographic, environmental components, and will thus benefit from the participation of numerous and disciplinary different research units in Belgium and Ethiopia. In Ethiopia, the EiABC will in fact participate through its Chair of Ecosystem Planning and Management, Chair of Urban and Regional Planning and Chair of Environmental Design. On the Belgian side, the partners involved in the project are HABITER research group (Faculty of Architecture) and Chair Sustainable Architecture & Urbanism (BATir department, EPB) of ULB, and the - Biodiversity and Landscape Research Unit of the ULg/GxABT.

Secondly, in order to develop the Centre of Excellence on emerging cities that will play an interface role amongst local stakeholders, the project will support the creation of the ECIP Lab. The Emerging Cities Integrated Planning Lab will be created within the EiABC and will support both academic research (result 1) and the pilot study as well as the drafting of Integrated Development Plan Guidelines on the emerging city of Amdewerk (results 2 and 3). The centre will also play a role of the activities of consultancy developed by the university. We consider that small towns will favourably welcome the ECIP Lab as, within the framework of Growth and Transformation Plan (2011-15). There is an Urban Land Development and Management Policy that specifically targets small towns with a population of less than 20,000. To this effect, the preparation and implementation of sustainable development plans, including the provision of basic social and economic infrastructures and services is one of the core objectives of both the GTP and the centre.


This research is funded by:

ARES – CCD (Académie de Recherche et Enseignement Supérieur – Commission de la Coopération au Développement)

Selected publications

Key references

Woldeyessus, B., Ranzato, M., Moretto, L. , Khan, A. Z., et al. (2015). Urban metabolism

of an Ethiopian emerging town. International Conference on Chinese and African

Sustainable Urbanization: A Canadian and International Perspective, ICCASU: AFR1:

Strategies of urban planning in Africa. Ottawa, Canada: ICCASU.

Angelil Marc & Dirk Hebel, Cites of Change - ADDIS ABEBA. Transformation strategies for urban territories in the 21st Century, Ed.  Birkhauser, 2009.

Ayenew Tenalem, “Water management problems in the Ethiopian rift: Challenges for development”, Journal of African Earth Sciences, 48, n° 2-3 – june 2007.

Chanson-Jabeur C., C. Coquery-Vidrovitch, O. Goerg, Politiques d'équipement et services urbains dans les villes du Sud, étude comparée, Paris, Editions L’Harmattan, 2004 (in French).

Earth Trends, statistics on population, health and human well being, Ethiopia, 2003.

Gebre Egziaber Tegegne, “Livelihood and Urban poverty reduction in Ethiopia – Perception from Small and Big Towns”. African Books Collective, 2010.

GTP (Growth and Transformation Plan) of Ethiopia, 2010.

Oswald Frans, « The idea of a Town: Designing towards Urban Transformation in Ethiopia », in Construction Ahead, 15 (2009), 20-32.

Proclamation No. 450/2005. Federal Urban Planning Institute Establishment Proclamation.

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Ministry of works and urban development, PASDEP, 2005.

The Ministry of Works and Urban Development,Report to the Parliament of the Federal Government of Ethiopia. April 2010. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The Ministry of Works and Urban Development, Urban Industry & Urban Development Package”. Amharic publication, Miazia 1998, April 2006, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The Ministry of Works and Urban Development, Urban Local Government Development Project (ULGDP) - Environmental & Social Management Framework, November 2008. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Tribillon J.-F. et M.-T. Manchotte, Aménager la ville africaine. Guide des procédures d'aménagement urbain à l'usage des municipalités africaines gestionnaires de villes moyennes, Cotonou, 2008 (in French).

UN Habitat, Ethiopia country profile report, 2008.