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By Elias Gudissa Kebede (Download full paper)

Revisiting the Content and Context of Urbanization Policies from a Conflict Management Perspective in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


Addis Ababa experienced proliferated urbanization. However, the urbaniza- tion process was not in total agreement and faced several conflicts while expand- ing. This paper aims to assess the major urbanization policies from the “policy cycle model” and conflict management perspectives.

As Skok (1995) states, the policy cycle model has relevance to achieving the goal of a system. The stages entail; agenda- setting, policy formation, decision- making, implementation, and evaluation. Conversely, Bridgman and Davis (2003) argue the “policy cycle model” is impractical and focuses more on the process than the content. Nonetheless, the model has a fundamental relevance in its intent and is apt for decision-making in its ability to capture the existence of multiple actors’ policy advice.

In the contemporary “policy cycle model,” stakeholders spend significant time in the process. Empirical evidence from other countries indicates that the sequences of events in the policy process deviate from the policy model, but stages might occur simultaneously. Hence, does the “policy cycle model” reflects in the urbanization policymaking process in Ethiopia?

Indeed, the Ethiopian experience in urban planning has evolved over time. The country developed the National Urban Development Policy in 2005. A study indicates that the urban planning approaches in Ethiopia transformed  from a “laissez-faire approach” to a centralized elitist approach. For example, during the first master plan preparation (2002 to 2012), significant time was spent on the process. As Ezana (2014) stated, “150 workshops, exhibitions, and consultative meetings were conducted.” Nevertheless, there is a need to revisit the policymaking trend in expert harmony and embrace local experience in urban plan preparation. However, the policies seem to have a paucity of content that can prevent and manage conflicts while expanding to the outskirts of the city.

This paper focuses on the evaluation of two policies, the “Urban Land Lease Policy” and the “Addis Ababa Integrated Development Master Plan (AAIDMP).” Using the critical content analysis method, the paper highlights relevant studies and media reports to evaluate the above policies from the policy cycle model and conflict management perspectives.

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