Urban Transformation and Changes in Livelihood Strategies as a result of a new university: The case of Debre Birhan University, Debre Birhan, Ethiopia
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These days urbanization in the global south is taking place at an alarming rate. There is high rate of expansion to the existing metropolitan areas. New urban centres which are secondary and smaller in size are also coming to the fore. Rural villages, getting promoted to middle sized urban cores. The question may be is: what triggers this fast urbanization? Population growth, rural to urban migrations, location of influential industries and institutions are some to be listed. Over the last three decades, rate of urban growth has significantly increased in Ethiopia though it still remains one of the least urbanized in East Africa. In this research will be examined impacts of a new university‘s establishment on changes in urban growth patterns, land use transformations and livelihood options. Whenever, there is a new institution established, be it educational or industry then there would be changes to the built environment near its location. It will bring in economic significance; changes the urban fabric, affects the social structure be it negative or positive; and ultimately becomes an agent for the changes. This was the hypothesis at hand and the research was then conducted to verify the claim then. Appropriate site chosen was a secondary town from Ethiopia. It is noticed through this research that there are intended and unintended outcomes resulted from establishment of the university. Among the intended ones: high level of accessibility of education, job and economic opportunities, new livelihood options for local communities, creation of new urban node possibly serving as a growing potential. Among the unintended list are the changes in land values, rises of housing rents leading to displacement of low incomers who cannot cope. There is also recorded a change in land uses from purely residential to mixed commercial zone, from rural agricultural land to urban zone.