Land governance and decentralised physical planning in mid-sized cities in Ghana

Physical planning is influenced by a number of variables. The key among these in the Ghanaian context is the system of land governance. This paper attempts to examine the extent to which the decentralized planning system of Ghana is capable of addressing the challenges facing mid-sized cities, particularly under the reformed land governance system. This is important because physical planning in Ghana is organised under a system whereby land is governed and/or owned by authorities other than the state apparatus. Two key questions are the basis for this inquiry: how is physical planning in Ghana conceived and actually executed? What are the characteristics of the reformed land governance system of Ghana and how have these affected decentralized physical planning and spatial governance? A case study approach which enables a detailed and holistic analysis of the phenomenon was used to investigate physical planning practice in a selected mid-sized city in Ghana. The study establishes that physical planning in Ghana is not driven by long-term sustainable development visions; there is the absence of planning concepts, principles and norms; and there is no clear land use regulator. The study recommends that the local government bodies in Ghana take up their responsibility as land use regulators by improving the capacity of their physical planning departments to deliver on their mandate. It is also recommended that physical planning be conducted in a participatory manner within the framework of the National Development Planning (Systems) Act 1994 (Act 480). It is argued that this will imply a move away from ‘zoning and rezoning’ to strategic spatial planning.

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Publication Type Journal
Publisher Urban Forum
Year 2016
Author(s) David Anaafo and Dan Inkoom
Other Numbers Vol. 27: 1, p. 93-111
ISSN 1015-3802
DOI 10.1007/s12132-015-9267-3
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