Environmental Management

, Volume 61, Issue 1, pp 132–146 | Cite as

Temporal Dynamics of the Driving Factors of Urban Landscape Change of Addis Ababa During the Past Three Decades



Mapping and quantifying urban landscape dynamics and the underlying driving factors are crucial for devising appropriate policies, especially in cities of developing countries where the change is rapid. This study analyzed three decades (1984–2014) of land use land cover change of Addis Ababa using Landsat imagery and examined the underlying factors and their temporal dynamics through expert interview using Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP). Classification results revealed that urban area increased by 50%, while agricultural land and forest decreased by 34 and 16%, respectively. The driving factors operated differently during the pre and post-1991 period. The year 1991 was chosen because it marked government change in the country resulting in policy change. Policy had the highest influence during the pre-1991 period. Land use change in this period was associated with the housing sector as policies and institutional setups were permissive to this sector. Population growth and in-migration were also important factors. Economic factors played significant role in the post-1991 period. The fact that urban land has a market value, the growth of private investment, and the speculated property market were among the economic factors. Policy reforms since 2003 were also influential to the change. Others such as accessibility, demography, and neighborhood factors were a response to economic factors. All the above-mentioned factors had vital role in shaping the urban pattern of the city. These findings can help planners and policymakers to better understand the dynamic relationship of urban land use and the driving factors to better manage the city.


Addis Ababa AHP Driving factors Temporal dynamics Urban landscape change 



We gratefully acknowledge the financial support from Addis Ababa University Office of the Director of Research under the thematic research title “Resource efficiency, environmental quality and sustainability of urban areas in Ethiopia”, Grant number TR/11/2013. The authors would also like to thank USGS for the provision of Landsat data sets and all experts who participated in the interview.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

267_2017_953_MOESM1_ESM.docx (14 kb)
Supplementary Information


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development (EiABC), Addis Ababa University (AAU)Addis AbabaEthiopia
  2. 2.Center for Food Security Studies, College of Development Studies, AAUAddis AbabaEthiopia

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