Spatial plans and urban development trajectory in Kumasi, Ghana

Prosper Issahaku Korah, Patrick Cobbinah, Abraham Marshall Nunbogu, Sarah Gyogluu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


This research uses empirical data to explore the link between spatial plans and 'actual development' occurring in Kumasi, Ghana. The research found that urban development is determined by both spatial plans and spontaneous informal development patterns (i.e. self-organisation). However, self-organisation is more widespread compared to spatially planned neighbourhoods. This phenomenon was expressed in a context of uncertainty created by weak institutional planning system which promote and reinforce haphazard development disregarding urban planning requirements. These findings provide a perspective on urban development that differs from that occurring in cities of developed countries, where planning institutions in consultation with urban residents determine the patterns of urban development. Unfortunately in Kumasi, self-organisation is not viewed as important in mainstream planning system. The paper concludes that more needs to be done in terms of understanding self-organisation processes, and the way they could be integrated into mainstream planning process to respond more fully to the urban development challenges in Kumasi.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1113-1134
Number of pages24
JournalGeoJournal: an international journal on human geography and environmental sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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