Accepted paper:

Tree cover of Accra's neighbourhoods - A green divide


Lyn-Kristin Hosek (University of Birmingham)

Paper short abstract:

Tree cover of Accra’s neighbourhoods ranges from 0.2% to 53.6%, a green divide that features in many cities. These intra-city disparities need to be examined within a context that explicitly recognises their political nature if initiatives are to increase urban sustainability and green equality.

Paper long abstract:

Intra-city differences of tree cover are one way in which the urban divide physically manifests itself, adding a green component to the discussion of urban inequalities. Nima and Airport Residential, two neighbourhoods in Accra, are less than a kilometre apart but Nima has a canopy cover of 4.4% while Airport Residential has a canopy cover of 30.4%. These values were determined together with those for the whole of Accra and its remaining 74 neighbourhoods using the 'dot method' approach where random points are displayed on aerial photographs and then categorised as being located either on a tree or not. A total of 38500 points were classified like this to add to the literature about Accra where waste management, water and sanitation have been investigated, but limited attention has been paid to urban trees. More specifically, an analysis on neighbourhood level allows relating tree cover, ranging between 0.2% and 53.6%, to within-city variations of other indicators (e.g. level of income, sanitation or type of waste disposal) that were used to assign neighbourhood poverty ratings during a mapping exercise. While the average crown cover of non-poor neighbourhoods was 23.1%, this continuously declined to 3.5% for those in the highest poverty class, resembling findings from other studies. These correlations suggest that the socio-political nature of the urban environment needs to be clearly acknowledged and should explicitly feature in any kind of urban sustainability initiative if green inclusion is to be achieved.

panel P200
Sustainable Cities in Africa: plans, dreams, and practices