The Dynamics of Urbanization and Ethnic Contestation in Peri-Urban Areas of Ethiopia: Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa Cities in Focus

Land, because of its social, economic, and political significance, often spurs major political changes in Ethiopia. More specifically, urban spatial expansions/sprawls in the context of multi-ethnic urban and peri-urban areas is at the heart of contestations. Owing to an ethnographic approach, my Ph.D. project attempts to tease out the dynamics of urbanization and ethnic contestations in peri-urban areas of Ethiopia by focusing on two chartered cities, Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa. To do so, the dialectics of (peri) urbanization in the context of conflicts, politically induced (re) resettlements, the political economy of ‘informal’/’illegal’ settlements, land tenure arrangements, urban sprawls, and urban planning and development strategies will be addressed. Accordingly, I will focus on how macro issues (ideologies, policies, strategies, legal frameworks, planning, proclamations, etc.) and local realities dynamically sway each other. By doing so, the research will investigate how national politics conditions local (urban) conflicts and vice versa.