Impacts of Urban Growth on Bahir Dar City

Abraham Achenef Zewdu


Urbanization, as a major demographic trend, has become a global phenomenon. The year 2007, being taken as a tipping point where global urban population outnumbered the rural one for the first time, has been followed by increase in the magnitude of regional and global urbanization. Ethiopia, with 17% urban population in 2013, has also been urbanizing fast. Its urban growth implicates, inter alia, increase in urban areas of which Bahir Dar is among the most important ones. The study was, hence, conducted in Bahir Dar city to describe the impact of urban growth by purposively selecting four kebeles and 280 household respondents and by recruiting seventy informants. The study used multiple research methods including depth-interview, FGD, survey, and observation. Bahir Dar has been urbanizing fast. Its population size increased from 167,261 in 2005 to 249,125 in 2013 and total area from 28 Km2 in 2005 to 286.6 Km2 in 2006 and then after. According to the city administration, Bahir Dar is also witnessing high rate of urbanization, 6.4 percent in 2013. Built up area has also shown large increase, especially, over the past three decades. Focusing on urban growth in the city in the post revolution period, especially since the city’s designation as the capital of Amhara region in 1993, the study found that urban growth has been resulting in negative impacts including housing problem, informal settlements, pollution of ecosystem and water bodies, farm land encroachment, flooding, unemployment, poverty, and crime and so on.


Bahir Dar; City; Urban Growth; Impacts

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