Hawassa Ethiopia

                                           Researched by Greg Foltz

Hawassa Ethiopia

Urban Greenspace, Green infrastructure, Urbanization, Population growth

Hawassa Ethiopia Fast Facts:

  • Hawassa population is approximately 315,000

  • Area: 50 km2 (20 sq mi)

  • Climate: tropical savanna climate temperature averages 19.2 °C | 66.5 °F

  • Annual Rainfall: averages around 1007 mm | 39.6 inch per year.

  • Topography: 7.062 degree latitude, 38.476 degree longitude, and 5,558 ft elevation. Elevation can vary from 2 miles out to a maximum 453 ft.

  • Land use:approximately 19.27% for residential area, 20.20% for transportation (road), 7.06% for commercial area, 2.10% for institution, 12.20% allocated for the social service area, 5.74% for production and selling area marketing area, 16.4% for green infrastructure (trees and forest) area, 4.03% allocated for mixed-use service area

  • Awasa (also spelled Awassa or Hawassa ) is a city in Ethiopia, on the shores of Lake Awasa in the Great Rift Valley. It is located 270 km south of Addis Ababa thru Debre Zeit, 130 km east of Sodo , and 75 km north of Dilla. The town serves as the capital of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region , and is a special zone of this region. It lies on the Trans-African Highway 4Cairo - Cape Town , and has a latitude and longitude of 7.  The population is relatively young, with 65% under 25 years of age and around 5.5% over 50 years of age. Hawassa is located on the shores of Lake Hawassa in the Great Rift Valley. The catchment of Lake Hawassa is formed of Pliocene-age volcanic rock. Significant faults and ground cracks in the rock result in a highly permeable soil and unconfined aquifers in the area. The depth to the static groundwater level varies from a few meters in the low-lying areas to up to 40m deep in elevated areas. The city administration is divided into 8 sub-cities and 32 subdivisions (20 urban and 12 rural).   The land use of the city includes approximately 19.27% for residential area, 20.20% for transportation (road), 7.06% for commercial area, 2.10% for institution,

  • 12.20% allocated for the social service area, 5.74% for production and selling area (marketing) area, 16.4% for green infrastructure (trees and forest) area, 4.03% allocated for mixed-use service area, 13.10% for other service area. The city has a variety of tree and forest resources such as coniferous and broad-leaved forest in its environmental condition. (World bank 2016)


As shown in Figure 2, there was only one single urban clustered in the North-Western and South-Western with scattered development in 1975. The spatial coverage of green space was 1,522 hectares (28%) of land from the total area 5,024 hectares (Table 1). The three-dimensional spreading of green spaces in 1975 analysis was more usual in the edge of the city. The Northern of the city have large area coverage of green spaces (Figure 2). Along with the Lakeshore of Hawassa, South, South-Western, and South-Eastern parts of the city have good green space coverage than other parts of the city. The spreading of green space in 1985 shows a decreasing trend as compared to 1975. The coverage of green space was 983 hectares (20%), this indicates that green space coverage decreased by 539 hectares (10.7%) from 1975. The built-up area covered 2100 hectares (42%), agricultural land 1077 hectares (21%), and open/vacant land 864 hectares (17%).A trend observed from comparison of maps of 1975 and 1985 is the change of green spaces decrease by 10.2% into the urban area increase by 2.4%, agricultural land increase by 2.1% and vacant land increase by 6.3% in Hawassa city. Development of the city and agricultural practices and population growth are the main contributing factors for the drastic change of green spaces in 1985.the spatial coverage of green space in 1985 was 983 hectares (20%). The spreading was relatively concentrated at the edge of Lake Hawassa, central, and South-East edges of the city. In 1995 the total area coverage of green space was 779 hectares (16%) and its declines by 4% as compared to 1985. The coverage of green spaces evolved to become smaller areas, and caused reduction in green space size. Because of urban infringement. Green spaces in the North and North-Eastern parts of the city were replaced by agricultural practices, and North-Western, South-Western, and central parts of the city has shifted into residential area. In 1985 the coverage of agricultural land was 1077 hectares (21%), and the residential area was 2100 hectares (42%). In 1995 agriculture increased by 131 hectares (2.6%) and residential area increased by 344 hectares (6.6%). Along with the lake shore, South, South-Western, and South-Eastern parts of the city has better green space coverage. Parts of green areas were becoming clear as the surrounding natural vegetation declined (Figure 3). In 1995 there was a massive drought across the country, and the natural environment was extensively affected by drought. Also, the effect of drought, and the expansion of agriculture and the residential area also contributed to the reduction of green spaces across the study area.The majority of the green spaces and open land had been converted into other land use types such as urban living and agricultural land.In 2005 the decrease and alteration of green spaces into other land use continued, specifically green spaces found along the lakeshore and central parts of the city which were completely replaced by settlement and other urban services. In 2005 the spatial coverage of green space was 628 hectares (13%), and it decreased by 3% in 1995.In 2005 the three-dimensional distributions of green space showed the slight difference from the overall green space distribution of the area. In the 2005 image examination result, South, South-Western, and South-Eastern parts of the city had good green space coverage than other parts of the city. In 2005 were the reduction of agricultural land and vacant land. In 2005 agricultural land decreased by 51 hectares (1.0%) and vacant land decreased by 230 hectares (4.6%) in 2005. In 2015, the area coverage of green space was 585 hectares (12%), this means it decreased by 43 hectares (0.9%) from 2005 In this year (2015) agricultural land showed a very high decreasing change; it decreased by 645 hectares (12.8%). Built-up area and open/vacant land increased by 653 hectares (13%) and 35 hectares (0.7%) respectively (Figure 3).In Figure 3 and Table 1 green spaces showed descending movements in the last 40 years (1975-2015). Green space decreased from 1522 hectares (30%) in 1975 to 585 hectares (12%) in 2015; it decreased by 937 hectares (18.7%) in between 1975-2015. Similarly, the agricultural and vacant land showed an overall decreasing trend in the last 40 years in Hawassa. Agriculture decreased by 462 hectares (9.2%) and vacant land also decreased by149 hectares (3%). Developed area showed a dramatic increasing trend, and it increased by 1548 hectares (30.9%) in the last forty years. In table 3, the analysis exposed that 78% of visitors visit green corridors such as lake shores in Hawassa city, followed by home garden (69%) and outdoor sports fields (68%) Lake Hawassa is one source of the city economy and recreational or tourist attraction area in Hawassa city. The home garden has provided multi-functional benefit to the communities. While protected urban parks are also used for occasions and events as well as relaxation places on weekends. This is closely followed by green areas (66%) protected urban parks (65%), and city square and plazas (62%). The Natural roadside green space, institutional compound and cemetery and religious yards have received lower visitors in the city. So, 53%, 58% and 46% of the respondents utilized natural and semi-natural area, roadside green space, institutional compound and cemetery and religious yards relatively in Hawassa city. Utilization of green infrastructure in Hawassa city was relatively better, but it has a lot of limitations for proper utilization of green spaces. Assefa et al. (2011)         
Hawassa city majority (86%) of the residents visited the surrounding green areas or parks which are nearest to their home. However, due to lack of green areas/parks, poor management system, and lack of facilities, some of the community members or residents travel a long distance to get recreational services. More than 50% of the respondents from the Andents resident area were travelling a long distance to get recreational activities from Lakeshores (Table 2). The residential area has a shortage of green infrastructure developments, while the Lakeshore has better recreational facilities than others (Table 2). More than a third (34.6%) of the city population visited Lake Hawassa shores every day, especially on weekends when the area is usually very busy with local users and tourists. Hawassa Stadium (17.9%) was also
one the main a visiting site for watching football and conducting physical exercises and recreational purposes. Lake Hawassa shore has a lot of infrastructures that help to attract visitors from inside and outside the city. It has standard hotels, cafes, business, and other infrastructures like walkways, plastic and concert seats along the Lakeshore, shade trees, and lake view; it provides adequate security and overall management activity is very fascinating for visitors. While, Hawassa Stadium has different sports fields, recreational centers, small business, and well-protected compound with fencing tower, and security policies. Also in table 2 34.6% of the sampled residents travelled to visit and recreate in the Lakeshore, while Hawassa Stadium, Millennium and Guwie parks were utilized by 17.9% and 10.6% of the residents in the city. Due to lack of facilities and security problems, Melese, Millennium and Dato parks have very support of visitors as compared to other main green areas or parks in the city. In this park, there are no facilities like hotel, restaurants and other essential infrastructure developments. There are serious security problems because all the parks are located at the border of the city. Assefa et al. (2011) This study helps to highlight the trend of green space changes over time and see the causes of the changes of green spaces. This study could be used as an educational tool to inform the common people the causes loss of urban green spaces in this study and how it is happening all over the world. This study should provide other cities and villages to look at this study and stop the devasting destruction of green space.  This study should also peak the interests of other scholars, professionals, policy analysts and other stakeholders in planning, development and management of green infrastructure to have voice in the values of greenspace.  Green space provides relaxation, physical exercise and social activities for the community. (Nielsen TS ) There many constraints in the visiting and utilization of green infrastructure in Hawassa like storage of money, lack of facilities, lack of security and distance to the park. The city of Hawassa should set forth polices protecting and obtaining green space, hopefully this study will concern the people of Hawassa. Even though the green space in Hawassa is disappearing there some extraordinary parks


(PDF) Barriers to green infrastructure development and planning in two ethiopian cities: Bahir DAR and Hawassa. (2019, May 4). ResearchGate. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/332859119_Barriers_to_green_infrastructure_development_and_planning_in_two_Ethiopian_cities_Bahir_Dar_and_Hawassa

Appel, H., Mason, A., & Watts, M. (2015). Subterranean estates: Life worlds of oil and gas. Cornell University Press.

Fecal sludge management : Diagnostics for service delivery in urban areas - report of a FSM study in Hawassa, Ethiopia (English) | The World Bank. (n.d.). Documents & Reports - All Documents | The World Bank. https://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/430511468343408972/Fecal-sludge-management-diagnostics-for-service-delivery-in-urban-areas-report-of-a-FSM-study-in-Hawassa-Ethiopia

Hawassa monthly climate averages. (n.d.). WorldWeatherOnline.com. https://www.worldweatheronline.com/lang/en-us/hawassa-weather-averages/et.aspx

(n.d.). SNNPRS CITY ADMINISTRATION OF HAWASSA FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. https://www.hawassafinance.com/files/2006_profile.pdf

(n.d.). Soil and Water Lab: Home Page. https://soilandwater.bee.cornell.edu/Research/international/docs/Thesis%20Hussien%20Ali_Formatted2.pdf

Stakeholders’ engagement on nature-based solutions: A systematic literature review. (2020, January 15). MDPI. https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/12/2/640/htm

(n.d.). Sustainable Sanitation Alliance. https://www.susana.org/_resources/documents/default/3-2590-7-1467787739.pdf

University of Cincinnati

School of Planning

5470 Aronoff
University of Cincinnati
PO Box 210016
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0016

P 513-556-4943
F 513-556-1274

SOP website





©2020 by DAAPworks