Analysis of 'Decongestion Policy' Measure in Ghana's Largest Metropolis, Accra: Another Face of Urban Clearance or Bulldozing Approach?
George Owusu (University of Ghana)
Paper short abstract:
City governments in Ghana for the last decade have coined the term ‘decongestion policy’ as a simplistic approach for clearing areas of the city they perceived as undesirable. While the policy has been widely implemented for the past decade, not enough studies have been undertaken to assess its effectiveness.
Paper long abstract:
Metropolitan local governments in Ghana, especially the large city government of Accra (Ghana's national capital), have adopted and implemented a policy of decongestion of large metropolitan cities of Ghana for the past decades. The policy of decongestion has been implemented with the explicit aim of reducing congestion of informality activities and their operators in the central business districts (CBDs) and other key areas of the cities. While the implementation of the policy in Accra, Ghana's largest metropolis has been ad hoc in character due to a combination of factors such as limited public support and political liability most especially in election years, the policy in both theoretical and practical terms can be described as representing another form of the much criticized classical 'bulldozing or slum clearance' approach. Bearing in mind the backlash of the bulldozing or slum clearance approach as unsustainable means for promoting urban development, this paper argues that city authorities have coined the term 'decongestion' as a simplistic approach for clearing areas of the city of Accra they perceived as undesirable. While the policy of urban decongestion has been implemented for the past decade, not enough studies have been undertaken to assess the effectiveness of the policy. This paper attempts to fill this knowledge gap. It questions the policy of decongestion in both theoretical and practical terms as a means of promoting the sustainable development of large Ghanaian cities such as Accra.
Respatializing informality in urban Africa