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Geography of Land Markets in Spatio-temporal Perspective: The Case of Residential Land in Hawassa City, Ethiopia
* 1, 2 , 1 , 1
1  Ardhi University, School of Spatial Planning and Social Sciences
2  Hawassa University, Institute of Technology, Department of Urban and Regional Planning
Academic Editor: Salvador Garcia-Ayllon


The neoliberal market ideology and the subsequent decentralization policy adopted in sub-Saharan African countries in the post-1990s induced adverse impacts on the land and housing demand-supply dynamics over the years. Accordingly, the present study seeks to examine the geography of land and housing market dynamics in spatial and temporal dimensions in the rapidly urbanizing city-Hawassa-Ethiopia. Urban Rent Theory and Social Market Theory were employed to understand the epistemological milieu. Longitudinal tender-based land value data and GPS-based land/housing data were collected from the sampled city considering housing types and distance from the central business district (CBD). Besides, fine-resolution satellite images were employed to detect spatial changes covering 4 decades (1990-2022). Spatial data were analyzed using ordinary kriging spatial interpolation technique, classification, mapping, and quantification. The study reveals that land values in the formal market are skyrocketing to the extent of inducing income-based spatial segregation over the years, including the peri-urban. Accordingly, the city exhibited an increasingly unmet land demand that necessitated the black market which intensified over the years favoring the well-off segments of the sampled city, albeit at the expense of residents at the lower end of the market, who are the majority. Spatial analysis shows land/housing price hotspots signaling the poly-centric nature of Hawassa. The study reveals a converging nature of formal and informal land prices given the gradual penetration of more and more speculative actors in the market, on the one hand, the lack of appropriate planning and regulatory frameworks, and pseudo-transparent administrative procedures, on the other. The findings, of course, conquer the major propositions of the Urban Rent Theory and Social Market Theory. Based on the findings, the study recommends the significance of temporal and spatial data for informed policy-making and promotion of an inclusive land and housing market system, and thus; an inclusive city.

Keywords: Hawassa; Housing market; Land Markets; Neoliberalism; Social Market Theory; Spatio-temporal; Urban Rent Theory