The Rush to the Peripheries: Land Rights and Tenure Security in Peri-Urban Ethiopia | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
February 2021
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© 2021 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article.

As the global population continues to urbanize, increasing pressure is put upon urban centers and the carrying capacity of the already built-up areas. One way to meet these demands is horizontal expansion, which requires new lands to become incorporated into urban centers. In most cases, this demand is met by converting peri-urban land into urban land as the urban center expands. These processes of expansion into the peri-urban, however, create tension regarding land use and land rights, and may foster tenure insecurity if not well managed. As in many countries, Ethiopia is experiencing extensive urban population growth and the peri-urban areas at the edge of urban centers are under pressure. This study investigates land rights issues and tenure security conditions of peri-urban farmers in the case study sites of Addis Ababa and Hawassa. The findings reveal that urban expansion into the peripheral agricultural lands and the resulting tenure system change has caused intense perceived tenure insecurity among peri-urban farmers. The range of land rights exercised differs in these two sites, as measured by the property rights analytical framework. Peri-urban farmers in Hawassa hold weak owner positions, enabling them to exercise thicker rights. However, peri-urban farmers in Addis Ababa hold weak claimant positions, which is slightly above the operational level right of an authorized user. This analysis suggests that the urban development and expansion strategies adopted by the respective city administrations are impacting land rights of the peri-urban farmers and their tenure security, albeit in unique ways, from which lessons can be drawn about how urban expansion policies can be more appropriately designed and implemented.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Teklemariam, Addiswork T.
Cochrane, Logan


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