Negotiating a dominant heritage discourse. Sustainable urban planning in Cape Coast, Ghana

Cape Coast, Ghana

With specific focus on sustainable development of the built environment in Cape Coast, Ghana, the purpose of the study is to examine practical and conceptual barriers for local planning authorities advancing international outreach programs based on a global discourse on heritage and heritage management.


A discourse analysis was conducted on documents and programs produced by international organisations and local planning authorities since 2000. Further qualitative data collection methods included 25 semi-structured interviews, literature and media review and on-site observations.


The study shows that the dominant global discourse on heritage management being interconnected with tourism development is adopted by local planning authorities. However, the requirements to advance initiated urban redevelopment projects are neither adapted to the economic realities nor institutional capabilities of the local planning system. Instead of adjusting existing notions of heritage or local forms of organisations for heritage management, altering the discourse is potentially a more sustainable approach.

Practical implications

The findings reveal important implications necessary to address from a sustainable development perspective. The study can help practitioners to develop strategies based on local African planning contexts rather than western discourses on best practice.

This study discusses the impact of an authorised heritage discourse on local planning of the built environment, and the need to rescale and broaden the scope of such discourses to other levels than the dominating national/global.


Source: Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development via Emerald Group Publishing Limited (subscription required)

Photo Credit: oneVillage Initiative


Publication Type Journal Article
Publisher Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development (Emerald Group Publishing Limited)
Year 2015
Author(s) Susanne Fredholm
Other Numbers Vol. 5 Iss: 3
ISSN 2044-1266
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