The dual land management systems as an influence on physical development outcomes around Kumasi, Ghana

Uncoordinated urban dispersal, driven by demand for housing and space on the part of growing populations, is a common outcome around many major cities. The lack of co-ordination is often associated with technical and political weaknesses in land management systems. However, in developing countries, this outcome is also shaped by the tension between co-existing traditional and official land management systems. The paper explores that idea in an analysis of the urban fringe of Kumasi, Ghana. Here, unpredictable land release by semi-autonomous village chiefs is matched with a parallel set of official land sector institutions that attempt to manage, monitor and enforce regulatory mechanisms. To analyze this situation, the paper uses interviews with actors in both the traditional land tenure system and the official planning system, as well as with homebuilders in urban fringe locations. After describing each system, it explores local scale problems seen in disputes in the traditional system and delays and lack of enforcement in the official system. This analysis shows how these problems arise in part as the two systems operate side-by-side but use very different perspectives on ownership, spatial units and time horizons. In order to reduce the uncertainties that contribute to the dispersal of homeowners, the paper proposes that some of the weaknesses of traditional land administration may be addressed through education and by incorporating some of the functions into the official system. However, change will also require shifts in the regulatory powers in the traditional system and major improvements in the operation of the official approaches.

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Publication Type Journal
Publisher Springer
Year 2013
Author(s) Justice Kufour Owusu-Ansah and Imoro Braimah
Other Numbers Vol. 28, No. 4
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