Historicizing Urbanism: The socio- economic and cultural pattern of the city of Gondar, Ethiopia

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Muluken Fikadie
Sisay Sahile
Busha Taa

Abstract

The establishment of Gondar in the 17th century marked a very promising chapter in the history of the Ethiopian urbanization. This research aimed at exploring the meaning of urban space, the change of meaning through time and effects of displacement on the social bonds. In doing so, qualitative method (document analysis, interview, observation, photo voices) were used for thematic analysis. Various social institutions such as religion, market, monarchy, and long-distance trade promoted the Gondarian urban development. All the three Abrahamic religions, namely, Christian, Islam, and Judaism were developed in urban Gondar. Although these religions meant to divide the communities, the Gondarian Markets served to unite and glue the believers of these religions together. However, the residential places were segregated on the basis of religions, leading to sprawling. The sprawling was ensued by unplanned urban expansion, triggering developmental imbalances across the city. The corrective remedy of redevelopment injected by the municipality also caused slums of despair. Despite these shortcomings, urbanization marshalled with holistic goals of making Gondar one of the icons of the Ethiopian centers of religion and culture tinorder to promote and maintain national unity.

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