The Impact of Urbanization on Environment in Africa. The Case of Yeka Sub City, Addis Ababa

Bachelor Thesis, 2019

74 Pages, Grade: A




Lists of Tables

Lists of Figures


1.1 Background of the Study
1.2 Statement of the Problem
1.3 Objective of the Study
1.3.1 General Objective
1.3.2 Specific Objectives
1.4 Research Questions
1.5 Operational Definition of key terms
1.6 Significance of the Study
1.7 Delimitation of the Study
1.8 Description of the Study Area
1.9 Limitation of the study
1.10 Organization of the Senior Essay

2.1 Theoretical Literature Review
2.1.1 Basic Concepts of Urbanization
2.1.2 History of Urbanization
2.1.3 Trends of Urbanization in the World
2.1.4 Trends of Urbanization in Ethiopia
2.1. 5 Causes of Urbanization
2.1. 6 Environment and its Major Component
2.1.7 The Impact of Urbanization on the Environment
2.2 Empirical Literature Review
2.2.1 The Impact of Urbanization on Environment
2.3 Research Gap

3.1 Research Design
3.2 Methods of Data Collection
3.3 Sampling Design
3.3.1 Population and Sampling Frame
3.3.2 Sample Size
3.3.3 Sampling Technique
3.4 Data Sources
3.5 Data Analysis and Interpretation
3.6 Data Presentation

4.1 Data Presentation and Analysis
4.1.1 Response Rate
4.1.2 Respondents’ Background Information
Table 4.3 Background Information of Urban Land Development Management Officers
4.1.2 The Magnitude of Urbanization in Yeka Sub City Land Ownership of Households Yeka Sub City
4.1.4 Population Growth and Cause of Urbanization in Yeka Sub City
4.1.5 The Impact of Urbanization on Environment
4.1.6 The Role of Environment Protection and Conservation Office in Preserving the Natural Environment
4.2 Data Interpretation and Discussion

5.1 Conclusion
5.1.1 Magnitude of Urbanization in Yeka Sub City
5.1.2 Causes of Urbanization in Yeka Sub City
5.1.3 Impacts of Urbanization on the Natural Environment
5.2 Recommendation
5.2.1 Magnitude of Urbanization in Yeka Sub City
5.2.2 Causes of Urbanization in Yeka Sub City
5.2.3 Impacts of Urbanization on the Natural Environment



Appendix I _ Questionnaire to Households of Yeka Sub City

Appendix II- Questionnaire to Urban Land Development Management Officers

Appendix III-Questionnaire to Environment Protection and Conservation Officers

Appendix IV – Interview Question for the Head of Urban Land Development Management Office

Appendix V – Interview Question for the Head of Urban Environment Protection and Conservation Department


I would like to express my heartfelt and sincere thank to Yeka Sub City Urban Land Development Management Department Head and staffs, Yeka Sub City Woreda 5, 9 & 12 Environment Protection and Conservation Office Head and staffs and Yeka Sub City Woreda 5, 9 & 12residents (households) for their commitment and cooperation for the interview and in filling up the questionnaire. I am also very much indebted to my advisor, Ato Shishay Kiros , for his priceless contribution in guiding and supervising over my work. I would also like to express my heartfelt gratitude to my friend, Emebet Hailemichael, for her advice and support. Finally, I would like to pass my gratitude to Ethiopian Civil Service University for its free Internet service.

Lists of Tables

Table 2.1: . Projected increases in the population and built-up areas of four rapidly growing Ethiopiancities

Table 4.1 Background Information

Table 4.2 Background Information of Environmental Protection and Conservation..28 Officers

Table 4.3 Background Information of Urban Land Development Management Officers

Table 4.4 Land use change in Yeka sub city

Table 4.5 Land Ownership of Households and the prior Land Use of their current plot

Table 4.6 Population Growth in Yeka Sub City

Table 4.7 Housing Construction

Table 4.8 Impact s of Urbanization on Environment (Response from Households)

Table 4.9 Impact s of Urbanization on Environment (Response from Environment Protection and Conservation Officers)

Table 4.10 Environment Protection and Conservation Office in Role Preserving the Natural Environment

Lists of Figures

Figure 1.1 Location map of the study area

Figure 4.1 Informal settlement in Yeka sub city woreda 9

Figure 4.2 Construction of informal housing in the preserved forest area in Yeka sub city woreda

Figure 4.3 Land cover of Yeka sub city in2008

Figure 4.4 Land cover of Yeka sub city in 2013

Figure 4.5 Land cover of Yeka sub city in 2018

Figure 4.6 Degradation of Forest cover in Yeka sub city

Figure 4.7 River full of wastes in woreda 12 of Yeka sub city

Figure 4.8 Spring water used for drinking purpose near to a contaminated river in woreda 5 of Yeka sub city

Figure 4.9 Solid waste dumped in to the river in woreda 12 of Yeka sub city

Figure 4.10 Urbanization and environmental degradation

Figure 4.11 Mostly occurred forms of environmental deterioration

Figure 4.12 Levels of environmental deterioration

Figure 4.13 Liquid wastes released from residences into the river in woreda 5 of Yeka sub city

The number of people living in Yeka sub city is increasing from time to time as a result the degradation on the environment is also escalating. Therefore, the researcher strives to study the real impact of urbanization on the environment where we are living in. The general objective of this senior essay is to assess the impact that urbanization has brought to the environment in Yeka sub city. This research is delimited to study the environmental impact of urbanization i.e., theoretical delimitation, in Yeka sub city which is its geographical delimitation. Theoretical and empirical literatures are reviewed. The research is descriptive in its very nature. Besides, both quantitative and qualitative research approach is used. Simple random sampling technique particularly lottery method is used to select samples from the total population. Both primary and secondary data sources have been employed, and questionnaire, interview and observation are employed to collect the required data. Furthermore, quantitative (i.e. descriptive statistics specially frequency distribution and percentage) and qualitative (i.e., verbal analysis or narration) data analysis methods have been launched to analyze the collected data. Data are mainly presented in tabular, pictorial and textual form. Continuous population growth in Yeka sub city resulted in the encroachment of forest land mostly through informal way and this resulted in the minimization of forest cover and the alteration of land use from natural forest into human-made residential and other built up areas on a continuous manner. Besides the formal settlement, made by the legal allotment of land, the informal settlement is very high and even difficult to control. This indicates the high magnitude of urbanization in the sub city. The main causes for the continuous urban population growth or urbanization are influx of people into the city of Addis Ababa, ever-increasing natural birth rate and reduced mortality rate. The impact that urbanization has on the environment encompass deforestation, land slide and soil degradation, excessive waste generation and water and land pollution, and air pollution . Protecting agricultural and forest land as well as public open spaces from human settlement, containing the growth of the sub city within limited square with the help of policy instrument that earmark regulatory environment, restrict the geographic or spatial growth of the city, facilitate the management of urban growth and protect/preserve public open spaces and forest lands, reducing the influx of people through the creation of equal development opportunities for all rural and urban centers and implementing family planning is compulsory, and controlling informal settlement with a very strict regulatory environment is decisively needed.


1.1 Background of the Study

Human beings are highly dependent on the environment for their sustenance since their survival is reliant on the earth and its environment. To survive, human beings exploit their surrounding environment. Without air, land and water there might not be or is no way for human beings to keep living on the earth. With this regard Ohwo and Abotutu (2015: 213) stated that human beings’ sustenance and their quality of life is heavily dependent on the environment, and air, water and land which are the major components of the environment are the supporting pillars of human beings on which they rely on for their well-being and survival. However, even if environment is the life base of human beings, they became a threat for the environment since the over exploit their surrounding which in turn leads to environmental degradation. And this environmental degradation which is caused by humans themselves becomes a great threat for human beings and other living things. According to Ohwo and Abotutu (2015: 213) human beings seem to be at continuous war with their environment which is characterized by over utilization and mismanagement of the major components of the environment. They also stated that this unwise exploitation of the natural environment has created or brought serious challenges and great threat to natural resource base and one of the major threats to the environment is urbanization.

Urbanization is the increment of population resided on urban centers. According to Nsiah-Gyabaah (2003: 4) urbanization can be simply defined as a radical move of people from a rural to urban society or as a process of an essential consequence of industrialization that goes hand in hand with the role of human settlement. Nsiah-Gyabaah also explained that the process of urbanization in developing countries especially in Africa is unstoppable and rapid urbanization presents one of the greatest challenges to human security. Besides, urbanization is a growth in the proportion of a population residing in urban centers and the further physical expansion of already existing urban areas (Samson 2009: 55).This increment of population living in urban centers and the outward expansion of urban centers by altering agricultural productive and fertile and forested land into built environment has resulted in irreversible environmental degradation.

Urban environments are a complex environment which is incorporate natural environmental components and manmade elements which might have both positive and negative consequences on the natural environment. Since urban centers are engines of a country’s economy they are sophisticated with various and complicated socio-economic activities which attract an extensive amount of people for better job opportunity and better quality of life. In relation to this Ghosh & Tah (2015: 112) articulated that urban environment is a complex mixture of natural elements and built environment. The built environment is customized for human habitation and activity including its aesthetic and historical heritage, buildings, infrastructure and urban open spaces. He also recognized that the quality of urban environment is influenced by its geographical location; the scale and nature of human activities; waste, emission and ecological disruption that the local residents generate and the competence and accountability of elected institutions and their officials. In addition, the use, protection and conservation of land, water, soil and air which are the major component of environment is highly dependent on the values, behavior, beliefs, knowledge, traits, laws and traditions of people living in the surrounding environment. In other words, the use and conservation of the environment is relayed on the behavioral approach of socio-cultural groups and policies formulated by those socio economic forces.

The level of urbanization that is the percentage of the total population living in urban centers in developing country is still the lowest in the world. With this respect Baron (2018) stated that the level of urbanization in Africa is low (43%) as compared with developed countries like Europe (74%) and North America (82%). However, urbanization in the developing world in general is progressing much faster than in developed countries, which may reach 4% or even 5 % a year. The swift rate of urbanization in developing nations is accredited to rural–urban migration, economic growth and development, technological change, and rapid population growth. In Ethiopia as described by Central Intelligence Agency (2018) the level of urbanization is the lowest i.e. 20.8 % of the total population living in urban centers with the annual urbanization rate 4.63 %.

Even if the level of urbanization is the lowest, the rate of urbanization is the highest. Considerably large numbers of people migrate from rural areas to urban centers and from small urban areas to larger cities. And the migration of people from rural areas and other cities to Addis Ababa is significantly high. Since Addis Ababa is the largest city in Ethiopia people in-migrate to Addis Ababa looking for better job opportunity and better standard of living. In relation to this, Population Census Commission as cited in Leulseged et al. (2011: 2) asserted that though there are more than 900 cities in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa consisted of 23% of the total urban population of the country. This makes urbanization process of Addis Ababa very swift or rapid.

Yeka sub city is one of the ten sub cities of Addis Ababa, and this means the rate of urbanization in this sub city is higher. Expansion of built area through formal and informal settlement and land acquisition is becoming higher, and the number of people residing in this sub city is increasing from time to time. This makes productive agricultural land and forests to alter into built up areas. Urbanization in Ethiopia is expressed in outward expansion of built-up area and conversion of agricultural land into residential and industrial uses. Luelsegged et al., (2011:2) described that to contain the ever-increasing population, industry concentration, and commercial expansion, Addis Ababa city has been expanding horizontally towards its peri-urban areas. This horizontal expansion is evident in Yeka sub city. People are altering forest land in to residential and industrial occupancy or land use. People informally purchase land from the surrounding peasants and built houses and other facilities. This in turn has brought considerable environmental degradation. Taking this into consideration the researcher attempted to assess what impact urbanization has really brought to the environment in Yeka sub city.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The city of Addis Ababa has the largest number of population in Ethiopia. Yeka sub city which is one of the tenth sub city of Addis Ababa has the total population of 368,774 which is very large and exceeds the carrying capacity of the sub city. This large concentration of people in this sub city is resulted in a huge environmental degradation. In other words, this high rate of urbanization is affecting the environment and resulting in agricultural and forest land disruption and expansion of unlawful resident. The evident environmental effect of urbanization in this sub city can be expressed in terms of deforestation, land slide, extensive amount of liquid and solid waste generation, water, air and land pollution and tumbling of green areas. This environmental degradation is caused by increased human habitation, accelerated energy and resource consumption and landscape modification (McDonnell and Pickett as cited in Pravitasari 2015: 11). Pravitasari (2015: 39-40) described that the rapid and uncontrolled urbanization has brought housing shortage, poverty, environmental violence, climate change, freshwater scarcity and pollution and deforestation due to ever increasing population growth. And this problem is evident in Yeka sub city. And there is extensive poverty and housing shortage. This shortage of proper housing and prevalence of poverty is resulted in lack of access to better sanitation and waste collection as well as poor sewage facility which in turn become public health and environmental threat.

According to Pravitasari (2015) human activities disrupt the environment since it release a wide range of emissions and pollutants into the environment which brought air water and land pollution. In Yeka sub-city Changes are generally driven by a combination of factors that work progressively and happen irregularly. Thus, it is necessary to measure and monitor land use changes over space and time for sustainability. The accessibility of high resolution data has been helpful for mapping spatial features, providing dependable, suitable, and precise data. GIS (Geographic Information System) and RS (Remote Sensing) techniques are used to create spatial planning and identify the pattern of settlements and deforestation for decision making. The increment of migration, lack of land for the housing of lower and middle class, an alarming rate of increasing of the rent house in the center of the city and the insufficient and delay of new construction of low house cost (condominium) are some of the factors aggravating the problems of inappropriate land use change in the study area. These all problems forced the people to purchase land from farmers at lower price in the outskirt of the Addis Ababa city especially in the study area of Yeka sub-city. Due to the above reason there is land use change from agricultural and forest land to urban settlement, the former area has been negatively changing and this can result in loss of forest, pollution of rivers, construction of informal houses in the sloppy land and close to river bank which aggravate land slide and erosion. It is from this point of view that the research problem is selected. Thus, the magnitude of the problems seems very serious and needs urgent policy intervention based on proper research and policy intervention. In Yeka sub city a wide range of waste are being generated from residential, industrial, commercial, institutional and other occupancies. Those wastes are not properly managed and bring increased sedimentation of wastes in various areas and along river side. This leads to increased contaminant run-off. In general, the ever increasing concentration of people and the expansion of urban territory are continuously bringing environmental disruption. Therefore, the magnitude of urbanization and its impact on the environment in Yeka Sub city will be assessed.

1.3 Objective of the Study

1.3.1 General Objective

The general objective of this study is to assess the impact of urbanization on the environment in Yeka sub city.

1.3.2 Specific Objectives

This study is designed address the following specific objectives

1. To analyze the magnitude of urbanization in Yeka sub city.
2. To examine the causes of urbanization in Yeka sub city.
3. To investigate the impact that urbanization has on the environment in Yeka sub city.

1.4 Research Questions

The research basically attempted to address the following basic research questions

1. What is the magnitude of urbanization in Yeka sub city?
2. What are the causes of urbanization in Yeka sub city?
3. What impact urbanization has on the environment in Yeka Sub city?

1.5 Operational Definition of key terms

Built Environment - All the physical things constructed by humans as aids to living (Mongo 2017).

- The surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates (Ohwo 2015).
- “urban center” means any locality having a municipal administration or a population size of 2000 or more inhabitants of which at least 50% of its labor force is engaged in nonagricultural activities (McGranahan & Satterthwaite 2014).
- is a process whereby populations move from rural to urban area, enabling cities and towns to grow. It can also be termed as the progressive (McGranahan & Satterthwaite 2014).

1.6 Significance of the Study

This research will have significance to provide necessary information that will help to understand the magnitude of urbanization and its impact on the environment in Yeka Sub City. Besides, it will be noteworthy to endow policy makers with valuable information that will help them to address environmental problems that has occurred due to rapid urbanization. Moreover, it will have a significance to serve as input for further investigation

1.7 Delimitation of the Study

Theoretically, the study is delimited in assessing the impact of urbanization on the environment, and geographically, the study is delimited to the administrative boundary of Yeka Sub City.

1.8 Description of the Study Area

Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, is the largest city in Ethiopia. It is located at the central part of the country at an altitude of 2,300 meters. Addis Ababa is divided in to 10 sub cities with 119 woredas. Yeka sub city is one of the ten sub cities of Addis Ababa and it has 14 woredas. It is located in the north eastern parts of the city. It is located at a geographical coordinate of 9”01’30.73” N and 38”48’27.55” E on the earth surface. The sub city borders with Oromiya in the north, Oromiya in the east, Gulele, Arada and Kirkos sub cities in the west and bole sub city in the south east (Emanuel Development Association 2015). The topography of this sub city include both gentle and sloppy. There is a river in this sub city i.e., Kebena and Meskele River.

In this sub city there are four types of roads their grading type, and these are Asphalt, cobblestone, gravel and earthen. The quality of roads in general is very poor and highly deteriorated. Besides, the problem of drainage and waste management is also common in this sub city just like other sub cities of Addis Ababa. Most of the roads do not have drainage system, and the existing drainage lines are blocked by various ill-managed waste materials. Those waste materials have various nature i.e., they range from non-hazardous waste to hazardous waste materials. With regard to vegetation the area has vegetation coverage like Eucalyptus, Auriferous and Acacia trees, and the access for public green spaces or greeneries is very low and even we can say that it is out of existence. Moreover, the total population of Yeka sub city is estimated about 346,664 out of which 161,592 are males and the remaining 185,072 are females (Emanuel Development Association 2015).

Location map of the study area

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Fig ure 1.1 Location map of the study area (Source: Addis Ababa City Administration and AutoCAD analysis, 2009)

1.9 Limitation of the study

The researcher has faced drawbacks while conducting the study. The obvious limitation was time and budget constraint and lack of commitment from respondents to fill the questionnaire and return it at the right time. However, to overcome those gaps the researcher has followed some mechanisms. To solve the problem of time constraint the researcher used the available time effectively to accomplish the study. Besides, before disseminating the questionnaire to the respondents, the researcher gave brief orientation about the purpose of the questionnaire and explained to them as the information obtained from them is to be kept confidential. Plus, the researcher approached the respondents with strong discipline and sense of humor.

1.10 Organization of the Senior Essay

Basically, this senior essay is organized in to five chapters. Chapter one which is the introduction of the senior essay has encompassed background of the study, statement of the problem, objectives of the study i.e. general and specific objectives, significance of the study, delimitation/scope of the study, description of the study area, limitation of the study, operational definition of terms and paper organization. The second chapter has reviewed different literatures related with the subject under investigation i.e. the impact of urbanization on environment. Chapter three covers research design and methodology specifically research design or method, population and sample size determination, sampling technique, data sources and data gathering instruments and data presentation and analysis techniques. In the fourth chapter i.e. data presentation, analysis and interpretation the data collected through different data gathering instruments are presented, analyzed and interpreted. Finally, the last chapter, chapter five, provides conclusion and recommendation. In addition to these, the paper has preliminary and supplementary parts. The preliminary part includes the title page, declaration, signature page, acknowledgement, table of contents, list of tables, list of figures, list of annexes, acronyms and abstract. On the other hand, the supplemental part embraces references and annexes.



In this section the researcher has reviewed different literatures about the subject under investigation i.e. the impact of urbanization on environment. The reviewed theoretical and empirical literatures are presented as follows.

2.1 Theoretical Literature Review

2.1.1 Basic Concepts of Urbanization

To say a country or region is urbanizing implies that it is becoming more urban. Demographers have interpreted this to mean that a growing share of the population lives in urban settlements (Poston and Bouvier 2010: 307–311). McGranahan & Satterwaite (2014) described that urbanization refers to a broad-based rural-to-urban transition involving population, land use, economic activity and culture, or indeed any one of these. Thus, it is frequently used to refer to changes in land-use for specific areas (usually on the periphery of urban concentrations) as this land becomes ‘urbanized’ and is sold and developed for urban use (e.g. the sale of plots for housing). And the shift in population from rural to urban settlements involves a shift to more dense settlement patterns; whereas the shift from rural to urban land use is increasingly the result of shifts to less dense urban settlement patterns.

Similarly, Mefekir (2017: 54) defined urbanization as an increasing share of nations of population living in urban areas and those declining share living in rural areas. Most urbanization is the result of net rural to urban migration. A nation’s city population can grow from natural increase (births mince) deaths, net rural to urban migration and reclassification /as what was previously a rural settlement becomes classified as urban or urban settlement boundaries are explained or expansion bringing into its population or people who will peevishly classified as rural.

Moreover, Rai (2017: 127) defined urbanization as a general increase in population and the amount of industrialization of a settlement, and it represent the movement of people from rural to urban areas. Similarly, Nsiah-Gyabaah (2003: 2) stated that rapid urbanization is an in outward expansion of the built-up area, converting prime agricultural land into residential and industrial uses. It also leads to the construction of high-rise buildings and vertical commercial development in specific zones. UNHABITAT et al. (as cited in Simms 2008: 2) also explained that urbanization is the process by which cities and towns develop and grow into larger areas, and it includes the movement of people from rural to urban areas as well as movements among towns and cities.

2.1.2 History of Urbanization

It has been estimated that before the start of the 19th Century only 3% of the world’s population lived in towns of over 500. At the present time the figure is probably about 40%. Urban center have existed and have been evolving for many centuries across the world. However, the accelerated growth of urbanization is relatively a recent phenomenon (Hall 1973). As stated by United Nations World Population Prospects (2015) urbanization is not a new phenomenon, but the process took on a whole new dimension in the 20th century. We are witnessing a historic transformation of human social roots on a global scale. Ancient rural cultures are replaced by the complex environments of diverse megacities, with millions of inhabitants. The first major change in settlement patterns was the accumulation of hunter-gatherers into villages many thousand years ago. Village culture is characterized by common bloodlines, intimate relationships, and communal behavior. Urban culture is characterized by distant bloodlines, unfamiliar relations, and competitive behavior. Your neighbors are strangers, and there are millions of them. This unprecedented movement of people will continue and even intensify during the first half of the 21st century. The emerging “metroplexes” (conglomerates of cities) will grow to sizes unthinkable only a century ago.

Ethiopian Civil Service University (2014) described that the relevant history of urbanization can be divided into three main periods. The earliest or first period started with cities that were began with the advent of settled agriculture and domestication of plants and animals circa 10,000BC and it is continued till 1800AD. During this period the level of urbanization was around 10 %. Not more than tens of thousands of people lived in early period cities and most of those cities were defensive walls and within a walking distance.

Ethiopian Civil Service University outlined that the transition into the second period began at the end of 18th Century with the out broke of scientific and technological revolution which set in motion a serious of persistent, irreversible, mutually supportive and long lasting transformation. With this respect Chen (2014: 2) stated that urbanization began during the Industrial Revolution, and refers to the increasing number of people that live in urban areas. Urbanization is not only about a simple increase in the number of urban residents, but also involves a series change from rural to urban styles in terms of industry structure, employment, living conditions, and social public services. Economic growth is the increase in the value of goods and services produced by a country or regional economy over time.

Similarly, Ethiopian Civil Service University acknowledged that during this period, there was a consistent increase in real income since there was a transition from Malthusian economy to modern economy with a consistent increase in the world’s population. In addition, commuting range increased up to 10 folds walled cities were tumbled down. There was also urban transport revolution. The end of the second period of urbanization was marked in 2010 AD, and the world population was 6.9 billion, and half of it was accommodated in urban centers. The third period or urbanization started with a slower world population growth rate of 1.2% per year, and the rate is expected to decline to less than 0.1% by 2100. The world population is projected to grow to 8.2 billion by 2025, 9.7 billion by 2050, 10.5 billion by 20175 and 10.9 billion by 2100 (United Nation Population Division as cited in Ethiopian Civil Service University 2014). Urban population Sub-Saharan Africa (SSSA) was projected to be approximately 150 million in 1909. They are growing rapidly. It will be expected to be about 260 million by 2000 (Potts 2009). The history of urbanization in Ethiopia goes back to the Axumite civilization. During this time there were a number of towns, commerce had flourished countries. Later, this urban culture began to shift Lalibela and Gondar.

2.1.3 Trends of Urbanization in the World

We are experiencing a historical transition and human civilization will more and more combine into very large urban centers. Cities are the manifestation of the cultural, economic and social acceleration that we have experienced in the last century. In 1950 about 2/3 of the population worldwide lived in rural areas, and 1/3 in urban settlements. By 2050, we will roughly see the reverse distribution, with more than 6 billion people living in the crowded environment of urbanized areas. Nearly all global population growth from 2017 to 2030 will be absorbed by cities, and we expect about 1.1 billion new urbanites over the next 13 years (Braungardt 2017).

On the same token, Chen et al. (2014) argued that looking at the global distribution of urbanization level; it is easy to see an irreversible trend of world urbanization and remarkable growth in almost all continents during 1980–2011. Globally, the urbanization level has risen from 39% in 1980 to 52% in 2011. In low- and middle income groups, the urban proportion has increased rapidly from 31% to 47% over the same period. Interestingly, there is also a growing trend of urbanization in the high-income group, where the level of urbanization has increased from 72% to 80% in 1980– 2011. The color difference is clearer in the developing world, especially in Southeast Asia and Africa, which represent the bulk of the urbanization process and where urban population growth has occurred. However, the overall relative level of distribution of urbanization on a national scale worldwide is basically unchanged over the time period. The developed regions, such as North America, Europe and Australia, remain at a higher level of urbanization, while the developing countries are relatively lower. Most developing countries in South America have a distinctly higher urbanization level than other developing countries. The urban population ratio of Argentina, for example, reached 92% in 2011, which exceeds the level in the vast majority of developed countries.

Ethiopian Civil Service University (2014) asserted that the rapid urbanization that started in the latter part of the 18th century in Europe and later in North America accompanied the development of their modern industrial economies. The regions urbanized rapidly in the 19th and early twentieth century, and the majority of their populations resided in urban areas by 1950. Latin America began to urbanize later but at a faster rate, and its share of the population residing in cities surpassed Europe’s share by 1990. In North America and Latin America more than 80%now live in cities. Urbanization in these regions is still noticeable, often influenced by international migration rather than by internal migration from rural areas. In other regions, particularly parts of Asia and Sub Saharan Africa, one-half or less of the population now resides in cities, and urbanization process is keep going. Satterthwaite & McGranahan (2014) stated that Sub-Saharan Africa’s 4.0 per cent urban annual growth rate during the current decade (2010–2015) is the highest of any region, despite being well below the 5.5 per cent registered in the 1950s. More than half of this growth can be accounted for by its high overall population growth rate. Asia, by way of contrast, has a lower (2.3 per cent) urban population growth rate, but more than half of this growth reflects urbanization.

United Nations World Population Prospect articulated that between now and 2050, 90% of the expected increase in the world’s urban population will take place in the urban areas of Africa and Asia. The projected urban growth will mostly affect the developing world. In these countries, however, the correlation between the rate of urbanization and economic growth is weaker, which means that the growth of urban areas translates into the creation of slums. Future urban population growth will take place in small- to medium-sized urban areas in developing countries. These urban areas will geographically expand on average twice as fast as the urban population growth, which will have significant consequences for greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

2.1.4 Trends of Urbanization in Ethiopia

Ethiopia, being the third popular country in Africa is one of the least urbanized countries. In Ethiopia, urban population is concentrated in one primate city of Addis Ababa (Fessusu and Getachew 2002). The level of urbanization of Ethiopia, compared to other African countries, was about half of that of Kenya, a third of that of Nigeria and 57% lower than the average for sub-Saharan Africa as a whole, roughly during the same period (World Bank as cited in Samson & Tiwari 2012: 68). The trend of urbanization for earlier periods in Ethiopia depicts still lower rates: 11.4% in 1984, 9.5% in 1975, and 5.4% in the late 1930s. Currently, the proportion of urban population is 17.6% with a growth rate of 4.7% per year (CSA 2008 as cited in Samson & Tiwari 2012: 68). Moreover, the Ethiopian urbanization illustrates unbalanced distribution of urban population. Industrial activities and infrastructural facilities are concentrated in the capital city, Addis Ababa, which is the main administrative, economic, and financial center. This situation attracts migrants to Addis Ababa and creates a single primate city. Addis Ababa is characterized as a primate city because of its domination in the urban hierarchy. The population size of Addis Ababa is 12 times greater than the second urban centre making up 30% of the country’s urban population (Demissachew as cited in Samson & Tiwari 2012: 68)

Lamson-Hall et al. (2018: 5) described that Ethiopia stands out as a country that is both rapidly urbanizing and particularly impoverished. The share of the population living in cities has increased from an estimated 7.1% in 1994 (Schmidt and Kedir as cited in Lamson-Hall et al. 2018: 5) to 16% in 2008 (FDRE 2008 as cited in Lamson-Hall et al. 2018: 5), and is expected to reach 60% by 2040 at the current annual growth rate of 3.5% (United Nations 2014 as cited in Lamson-Hall et al. 2018: 5). In other words, the next three decades are the ones in which Ethiopia will be building its cities – cities with which it may then have to live for many generations.

Table 2.1. Projected increases in the population and built-up areas of four rapidly growing Ethiopian cities, 2010–2040, assuming a 1.5% annual increase in built-up area per person.

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Source: Lamson-Hall et al. (2018: 7).

2.1. 5 Causes of Urbanization

Urbanization is the outcome of the social, economic and political development. It is a factor of development associated with modernization and is a means of and consequences of modernization and has a positive and accelerating effect on development. In Africa, urbanization results from large concentrations of population in a few large cities and the factors that account for this phenomenon include industrialization and labour specialization; higher productivity in agriculture due to specialization and introduction of new technologies; foreign penetration and power interests, and high expectations and hopes of groups and individuals (Nsiah-Gyabaah, 2003: 1-2). According to Rai (2017: 127) the increasing trend of urban population is caused by improved employment facilities, medical facilities, enhanced facilities for trade and commerce, better access and facilities for higher education and facilities for entertainment, sports & games agglomerated or concentrated on urban areas. Rai (2017) described that rapid growth of urban population is caused by the increment of natural birth rate and migration of people toward cities.

Tsegaye (2010: 3-6) stated that urbanization can be migration led and or growth driven. The nature of migration led urbanization is related to push-pull factors. Push factors refers to the specific forces in individuals lives that lead to the decision to migrate outside of its normal place, while pull factors refer to those that leads an individual to select one destination over another once the decision to migrate has been made. Migration-led urbanization is characterized by an increase in the number of towns (multiplication of the points of concentration); gradual market integration of the different components of the agriculture economy (production, land and labour) and development of the rural market functions (handicraft, trade and service); and unbalanced growth in size and spatial distribution of towns (“distorted location incentives”). On the other hand, growth-driven urbanization is a result of the productivity of manufacturing firms and an increase in tradable services. Both sectors can absorb the surplus labour in rural areas. Manufacturing productivity not only increases employment growth, but also stimulates the agricultural productivity through supply of inputs and relief of labour burden. Tradable services are distribution services that have lower transportation costs and relatively high consumers of the service and this sector can absorb growing rural labor force as the trade increases (Deng, et al. 2008).

In light of this, Pravitasari (2015: 39) discussed that urbanization occurs because people move from rural areas to urban areas. This usually occurs when a country is still developing. There are several causes of urbanization including industrial revolution; industrialization following the industrial revolution; emergence of large manufacturing centers; job opportunities; availability of easy transportation; as well as migration. Rural to urban migration is happening on a massive scale due to population pressure and lack of resources in rural areas. People living in rural areas are pulled to the city. Often, they believe that the standard of living in urban areas will be much better in urban areas.

In line with broad historical trends elsewhere, rural to urban migration in developing countries constitutes the single most important cause of the rapid growth of the urban population migration from rural areas as an exceptional causes, as much as 75% in sub-Saharan Africa. Rural to urban migration due to poverty in rural areas results from low agricultural productivity and due to rural areas are relatively under served in terms of physical, financial and economic infrastructure Urbanization occurs as individually, commercial, social and governmental efforts to reduce time and expense in commuting and transportation and improve opportunities for jobs, education, housing and transportation. Cities are known to be place where money, services, wealth and opportunities are centralized. Many rural inhabitants come to the city for the reasons for seeking for turns of social mobility, businesses, which provides jobs and exchange of capital, are more concentrated in urban areas (Todaro 2000). Besides, according to BBC (2014) although the process of urbanization happens in both developed countries and least developed countries the fastest growing cities in the world are in least developed countries. The reasons for the growth of urban areas include lack of and poor employment opportunities in the country-side over population and poor crop yields are all push factors – why people leave the country-side. Better paid jobs in the cities an expected higher standard of living and more reliable food are an others factors why people are attracted to the city. A nation’s urban population grows from natural increase birth minus deaths, net rural to urban migration and reclassification (as what was previously a rural settlement becomes classified as urban areas a urban settlements boundaries are expanded (BBC 2014).

2.1.6 Environment and its Major Component

Bisesi (2011) showed that for some people the term 'environment' can simply means, 'nature': in other words, the natural landscape together with all of its non-human features, characteristics and processes. To those people, the environment is often closely related to notions of wilderness and of pristine landscapes that have not been influenced - or, at least, that have been imperceptibly influenced - by human activities. However, for other people, the term 'environment' includes human elements to some extent. Many people would regard agricultural and pastoral landscapes as being part of the environment, whilst others are yet more inclusive and regard all elements of the earth's surface - including urban areas - as constituting the environment. Thus, in popular usage, the notion of the 'environment' is associated with diverse images and is bound up with various assumptions and beliefs that are often unspoken yet, may be strongly held. All of these usages, however, have a central underlying assumption: that the 'environment' exists in some kind of relation to humans. Hence the environment is, variously, the 'backdrop' to the unfolding narrative of human history, the habitats and resources that humans exploit, the 'hinterland' that surrounds human settlements, or the 'wilderness' that humans have not yet domesticated or dominated.

Bisesi (2011) also described that in its most literal sense, 'environment' simply means 'surroundings' (environs); hence the environment of an individual, object, element or system includes all of the other entities with which it is surrounded. However, in reality, individuals, objects, elements and systems rarely exist in isolation; instead, they tend to interact to varying extents with their surrounding entities. Therefore, it is not particularly helpful to conceptualise the 'environment' without including in that conceptualisation some notion of relationship. Individuals, objects, elements and systems influence - and are in turn influenced by - their surroundings. Indeed, the networks of relationships that exist between different entities may, in some cases, be extensive and highly complex. Thus the 'environment' may be regarded as a 'space' or a 'field' in which networks of relationships, interconnections and interactions between entities occur. To those who have studied the science of ecology, such a conceptualisation will be familiar, since ecologists are concerned with both the biotic (living) and a biotic (non-living) components of environmental systems - and especially with the interactions of those components. In fact, the term 'environment' is often used interchangeably with an ecological term 'ecosystem', which may be defined as a community of interacting organisms together with their physical surroundings. The notion of interrelationship is a central one in environmental science and management, since many environmental issues have occurred because one environmental system has been disturbed or degraded - either accidentally or deliberately - as a result of changes in another.

2.1.7 The Impact of Urbanization on the Environment

Urbanization happens because of the increase in the extent and density of urban areas. Due to uncontrolled urbanization, environmental degradation has been occurring very rapidly and causing many problems like land insecurity, worsening water quality, excessive air pollution, noise and the problems of waste disposal (Rai 2017: 127). Yang (2014: 7051) explained that urbanization has a great impact on the vegetation coverage, and it has resulted in the increment of extreme heat events in frequency and intensity. Besides, urbanization has brought degrade air quality and increased health risks for inhabitants of urban areas, and motor vehicles emission is one of the major sources of pollution.

According to Rai (2017: 128) the high magnitude of the urban population, haphazard and unplanned growth of urban areas, and a desperate lack of infrastructure have a great impact on the environment. The rapid growth of urban population both natural and through migration, has put heavy pressure on public utilities like housing, sanitation, transport, water, housing, sanitation, transport, water, electricity, health, education, and so on. Besides, poverty, unemployment and under employment among the rural immigrants, beggary, thefts, burglaries and other social evils are on happening on a continuous manner. Moreover, urban sprawl is rapidly encroaching the priceless. All these growth have a great impact on the environment, space and the quality of people’s life. When this is supported by the poor provision of infrastructural facilities required to support a large concentration of population, as a consequence, the urban environment is deteriorating very rapidly.

Pravitasari (2015: 39-40) declared that due to uncontrolled urbanization, environmental degradation has been occurring very rapidly and causing many problems. The most emerging issues are climate changes, freshwater scarcity, deforestation, and fresh-water pollution because of raising population growth. In relation to the issue on climate changes, urbanization can contribute on the creation of urban heat island (Park as cited in Pravitasari 2015). Urbanized areas have much more building and another urban land use which consists of materials like concrete, asphalt, bricks, etc. which absorb and reflect energy differently than vegetation and soil. Cities remain warm in the night when the countryside has already cooled. Urban activities also give bad effect on changing the air quality. Urbanization also gives negative effects on land and water resources. Wastes are a major problem in large cities. Vast quantities of solid waste are produced in industries. Rapid urban development can result in very high levels of erosion and sedimentation in river channels, especially in urbanized areas. The adverse effects of urbanization not only erosion and other changed in land quality, but also pollution. Pollutants are often dispersed across cities or concentrated in industrial areas or waste sites since people sometimes burying tremendous amounts of waste in the ground at municipal and industrial dumps.

I. Over Exploitation of Natural Resources

Rai (2017: 128) explained that as a result of high population density and expensive life, the rate of consumption of natural resources (e.g. water, energy, fossil fuel, forest products etc.) is very high in urban areas. In addition to the over consumption, there is also mis-utilization of natural resources. Few acute problems of urban areas are scarcity of drinking water especially the ground water, scarcity of forest products, power cut due to excessive use of electricity etc. in light of this, Gutti et al.(2012: 95) stated that natural resources exploitation, exploration, mining and processing have caused different types of environmental damages which comprise ecological disorder, devastation of natural flora and fauna, contamination of air, water and land, instability of soil and rock masses, landscape degradation, desertification and global warming. This environmental damage has in turn resulted in waste of arable land as well as economic crops and trees.

Gutti et al. (2012) also added that if the natural resources must be developed, both the government and the natural resource industry must be involved in taking precautionary and remedial measures that can minimize the ill-effects of natural resources exploitation. Emphasis should shift from waste disposal to waste minimization through sorting, recycling, bioremediation, afforestation, sewage treatment and pollution control, while the government should provide the regulatory legislation with appropriate sanctions or where these regulatory bodies already exist, the enforcement of laws and policy implementation is of paramount importance. The oil and gas industries, mining companies and other natural resources exploitation bodies are expected to carry out mandatory precautions, remedies or compensation for damage done.

II. Air Pollution

As outlined by Rai (2017: 128) the air of urban areas get polluted due to a lot of anthropogenic activities, flying of large number of automobiles, industries etc. Human activities emit pollutants like carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, oxides of sulphur, hydrocarbons, vapours of organic compounds, particulates, and toxic metals etc. which are capable of polluting air and bringing a number of health hazards. In addition to this, according to Rai the unplanned construction of high rise buildings in urban areas absorbs solar radiation and, in the afternoon, these emit heat radiations increase the climatic pressure. Cities often receive more rain than the surrounding countryside since dust can provoke the condensation of water vapor into rain droplets. According to Tah & Ghosh (2015: 116) in recent years there has been an increasing concern towards the problem of air pollution. Air pollution is of great immediate concern than any other aspects of pollution. Human being can live without food and water for days, but they can stay without air only for five minute. Industrial pollution has a great effect in changing the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of not only air but also water and soil due to the release of pollutants from industries. Pravitasari (2015: 40) asserted that human activities release a wide range of emissions into the environment including carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and many other pollutants. Air pollution results from over-dependence on motorized transport and from burning of coal to supply energy.

III. Water Pollution

Pravitasari (2015: 40) described that the water quality has also degraded with time due to urbanization that ultimately leads to increased sedimentation there by also increasing the pollutant in run-off. Water pollution results from poor sewage facilities and disposal of industrial heavy metals into waterways. The public health effects due to urbanization such as poor sanitation; pollution caused by effluents, smoke, and smog; fire hazards due to use of flammable material and proximity/congestion; and epidemics due to spread of communicable diseases caused by contaminated water. Uttra, Bhuvandas & Aggarwal (2010: 1639) articulated that Natural vegetation and undisturbed soil are replaced with concrete, asphalt, brick, and other impermeable surfaces. This means that, when it rains, water is less likely to be absorbed into the ground and, instead, flows directly into river channels. Higher, faster peak flows change streams channels that have evolved over centuries under natural conditions. Flooding can be a major problem as cities grow and stream channels attempt to keep up with these changes. As stated by Tah & Ghosh (2015: 118) since the pollution of surface water changes the physical and psychological nature of water, it can have serious impact on the quality of human life. Release of sewage from domestic and industrial effluents including organic wastes causes the turbidity and color of water. In addition to air and water pollution, urbanization has a tremendous impact on the land resources.

IV. Land/ Soil Pollution

Rapid urbanization can result in very high levels of erosion and sedimentation in river channels. Pollutants are often dispersed across cities or concentrated in industrial areas or waste sites. Lead- based paint used on roads and highways and on buildings is one such example of a widely dispersed pollutant that found its way into soil (Uttra, Bhuvandas & Aggarwal, 2010: 1639).With this respect Abotutu and Ohwo (2015: 216) several studies have identified industrial and agricultural activities, indiscriminate waste disposal and oil spills as major causes of land pollution. In urban areas, there are more concentrations of industrial activities and high level of waste generation, coupled with poor disposal and management which increases the probability of land pollution. For instance, the World Health Organization as cited in Abotutu and Ohwo (2015: 216) stated that almost all industrial activities cause some pollution and produce waste. However, relatively few industries without pollution control and waste treatment facilities) are responsible for the bulk of the pollution.

2.2 Empirical Literature Review

2.2.1 The Impact of Urbanization on Environment International Experiences

Azam and Khan (2015: 8) stated that in cases of Sri Lanka and Pakistan urbanization contributes to environmental degradation because due to growing urban population, the usage of infrastructure, energy, and transport upsurges and as a result of inhabitant shift from agricultural to industrial sector might enlarge pollution of the environment. Similarly, Ghosh & Tah (2015: 122-123) explained that recently the impact of urbanization as well as industrialization has changed the land use pattern of Durgapur Municipal Areas and created significant problems to its ecology and environment. Open lands are being converted to residential and industrial areas. As a result, fly air pollution as well as water pollution increases day by day. They recommended that with the expansion of urban area and its population, there is a need to increase the infrastructural facilities of the industries to reduce air pollution, so that it could cope with the increasing population of the urban environment. Cui & Shi (2012: 8-12) explained that in Shanghai urbanization has a great impact on the climate and ecology. Urbanization alters the local climate and creates a significant urban heat island (UHI). The rapid urban expansion and land use change have resulted in a great heat island phenomenon in Shanghai, China in recent years. Besides, urbanization has a great influence in natural vegetation cover since they are replaced by paved area and other built up environments (Ibid). Local Experiences

Leulsegged et al. (2011: 13) asserted that in Addis Ababa there was a land conversion (land use and land cover change) between 1986, 2000 and 2010. During these periods built-up areas got increased and land covered with forest cover, grasslands, and croplands got decreased in those consecutive years. The 1986 land use and land cover map of the city shows as there was forest dominated cover land in the Northern and Northwestern part while crop and grasslands dominated the Southern, Southeastern, and Northeastern part. The built-up area was only concentrated on the central part. The 2000 and 2010 land use and land cover maps clearly show the expansion of built-up areas and shrinkage of forest lands.

Leulsegged et al. (2011: 14) articulated that in the first analysis period (between 1986 and 2000), the built-up area expansion was contributed by 35.8 km2 (55%), 27.05 km2 (42%), and 1.91 km2 (3%) conversion of croplands, forest, and grasslands, respectively. In the second analysis period (between 2000 and 2010), the built-up area expansion was contributed by 59.28 km2 (80%), 10.65 km2 (15%), and 4.29 km2 (5%) conversion of croplands, forest, and grasslands, respectively. Cropland areas have shown a net gain of 50.77 km2 in the first analysis period and reached 284.02 km2 in 2000. This was majorly contributed from the conversion of 89.74 km2 (82%) forestlands, 13.53 km2 (12%) grasslands, and 6.34 km2 (6%) bare lands (in built-up areas). However, in the second analysis period the coverage of croplands have declined and reached 238.63 km2 in 2010. Similarly, forest areas were 192.54 km2 in 1986. However, it declined to 80.82 km2 in 2000 and 67.86 km2 in 2010, showing a total loss of 124.68 km2 within 24 years. Grasslands on the other hand have shown little increment by 3.34 km2 in the first analysis period while it declined by 4.86 km2 in the second analysis period.

Leulsegged et al. (2011: 14) also explained that over the study period, built-up area has increased by 5.04 km2 per annum against 5.20 km2 per annum decrease of forest cover areas. However, the rate of the declining trend of forest cover was reducing significantly between 2000 and 2010. This could be attributed to the improved tree plantation activities conducted in the city. Even though grass and cropland showed a little growth in the first analysis period, both had a declining trend in the second analysis period. Particularly croplands showed a significant negative growth.

Leulsegged et al. (2011: 15) stated that findings revealed that built-up areas are expanding at the expense of crop and forestlands. Tadess et al. (2001) reported forestlands have converted in to urban and residential sprawl within the city limit and the surrounding area. Bamlaku (2009:4) has reported the conversion of agriculture land and forest to built-up areas. He further noted informal land transactions and formal land allocations for built-up areas as the main reason for agricultural land conversion. This horizontal physical expansion has leaded them a complete dispossession of agricultural land or farm size reduction. This in turn forced them shift in their livelihood strategies.

2.3 Research Gap

A plenty of research has been done on the impact that urbanization has on the environment. Cui and Shi (2012) have conducted a research on urbanization and its environmental effect in Shanghai, China. Similarly, Bamlaku (2009); Leulsegged et al. (2011); Khan &Khan (2015); Tah & Ghosh (2015); and Mefekir (2017) have studied on the issue of urbanization on the environment. These authors have studied a wide variety of aspects of environmental impacts of urbanization in different area. However, the impact that urbanization has on the larger environment in Yeka sub city is not studied, and this is taken as a research gap in the area under investigation.


3.1 Research Design

The research is descriptive in its very nature. Descriptive research method is preferred due to the reason that the purpose of the study is to assess and describe the impact that urbanization might have on the environment. It is also to answer such research questions as what the magnitude of urbanization is; what are the causes of urbanization, and what impact urbanization has on the environment in Yeka Sub city. This is because descriptive research design is to describe the existing situation without manipulating any change to the phenomenon under study and to answer research question ‘what is’. Both quantitative and qualitative research approach are used. This research has applied mixed research approach since the research involves collecting both quantitative and qualitative data so as to provide a complete understanding of the research problem.

3.2 Methods of Data Collection

The researcher used multiple data gathering instruments so as to be able to cross check data gathered from different data sources using different data gathering tools. Questionnaire (both open ended and close ended), interview and observation have been launched. Questionnaire and interview were used to collect first hand information or primary data from stuff and managers as well as households residing in the study area. Observation is done to collect first hand information about the extent environment is getting degraded.

3.3 Sampl ing Design

3.3.1 Population and Sampling Frame

In Yeka Sub city there are 14 woredas. Since the time given to conduct this study is too short it is difficult to include all woredas in the study. Therefore, taking samples from those 14 woredas was a must. The researcher has taken 20% of the total woreda which is 3 woredas out of 14. In other words, these 3 woredas can be considered as sampling frame from which samples (respondents) are taken. Those woreda were woreda 5, woreda 9 and woreda 12. The sampling unit or unit of analysis were Environmental Conservation and Protection Departments heads and stuff of Woreda 5, 9 and 12 administration of Yeka sub city, staffs and managers of Urban Land Development Department of Yeka Sub City and households. The total population of registered households residing in those three woreda administration is 5022.


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The Impact of Urbanization on Environment in Africa. The Case of Yeka Sub City, Addis Ababa
Ethiopian Civil Service University  (College of Urban Development and Engineering)
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impact, urbanization, environment, africa, case, yeka, city, addis, ababa
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Fitsum Elias Awoke (Author), 2019, The Impact of Urbanization on Environment in Africa. The Case of Yeka Sub City, Addis Ababa, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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