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Urban Blight in the Context of Ghana. A Case Study of East Legon, Accra

Mireku, Sally Adofowaa (2020) Urban Blight in the Context of Ghana. A Case Study of East Legon, Accra.

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Abstract:Urban blight is a description of a city’s deterioration. While the underlying causes of urban blight in the context of the Global North are known in the literature, there is a research gap regarding the root causes of urban blight in the Global South specifically in the context of Sub-Saharan Africa. Given the differences in the property rights regimes and economic growth trajectories between the North and South, the underlying reasons for urban blight differ. A greater percentage of property holding in Sub-Saharan Africa is under the customary land tenure system. Additionally, it was observed that urban blight in the North evolved from a transformation of a once prime, and vibrant city to a deteriorated one. However, in Sub-Saharan Africa, prime urban areas are rather experiencing distributed pockets of the blight of which the underlying reasons are unknown. This study, thus, employed a qualitative method and case study approach to ascertain in-depth contextual reasons for urban blight in an economically prime urban area, East Legon, in Accra-Ghana. The criteria for the selection of the blighted properties were grouped into four main urban forms based on the stipulated standards in Ghana’s Land Use and Spatial Planning Act 2016, Act 925. The four forms of the blight were a cluster of disordered settlements, vacant plots of land, dilapidated properties, and uncompleted/abandoned structures. This study revealed that urban blight evolved in East Legon because of the establishment of a residential estate with modern urban infrastructure. This estate was established by the Government while the existing indigenous settlements were left in an unchanged state. The root causes of the blight in East Legon were found to be inadequate urban infrastructure, land tenure systems (people-to-land relationships), and socio-cultural values attached to real properties. Thus, it was discovered that there are major differences for the underlying causes of urban blight between the Global North and South. Nonetheless, the key similarity revealed was the economic reason of causing blight. Furthermore, while economic reasons are the primary driving force for urban blight in the North, in this study, the driving force was predominantly socio-cultural values attached to real properties. Therefore for future research, it is recommended that there could be a study on urban blight and neighbourhood governance from an institutional perspective to ascertain a balance of value systems in an economically prime urban setting within the Sub-Saharan African region.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ITC: Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation
Programme:Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation MSc (75014)
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