Adoption of Compact City Planning to promote Sustainable Urban Development in Ghana
: The case of Greater Accra

  • Akosua Afrani

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Following the discussions made on the concept compact city planning and and its impact on sustainable urban development, a lot of contemporary literature has been developed as a result of its prominence. United Nations equally advocates for the adoption of compact cities to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. In line with the efforts aimed at promoting sustainable development, the study aimed at exploring the adoption of compact city planning to promote sustainable urban development in Ghana using Ashiaman Municipality and La Nkwantanang Madina Municipality as a case study. The specific objectives of the study were to explore the adoption of compact city towards curtailing the incidence of urban sprawl in Accra, to examine government effort towards developing Accra in line with achieving the central tenets of UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 and to examine the various impediments to compact city adoption within Greater Accra. The main target population for this study comprises the various Districts, Municipalities and metropolitan areas within the Greater Accra Region. However, the study employed convenient sampling to select two municipalities in the Greater Accra Region for the study. These Municipalities were the Ashaiman Municipality and the La Nkwantanang Madina Municipal.

Purposive sampling was also employed to select eight senior personnel at the various Municipal Directorates of the two municipalities for the study (four from each municipality). Four senior lecturers at the Department of Geography and Resource Development were also interviewed to corroborate the information provided by the technocrats at the various Municipal Assemblies. Similarly, eight senior professionals at the Ministry of Works and Housing and the Ministry of Local Government were interviewed for their inputs. This data was collected through semi-structured interviews.

Responses from the participants identified increasing high-rise buildings and having a holistic assessment of existing urban areas as key components of adopting a compact city plan to control urban sprawl. The government’s efforts through construction of inner-city roads, and the provision of amenities such as schools, water and sanitation in these areas were noted to be in a positive direction to achieve the SDG 11. Controlled demolition of unauthorized buildings and construction of high-rise settlements such as the Saglemi Housing project were also identified as good developmental efforts by the government. The major impediments to compact city planning were poor planning, lack of funding, lack of political intent, increasing urbanization, high poverty and inapplicability of sustainable city development practices in already established settlements.

The study recommends exploring the possibility of providing a dedicated source of funding for housing projects and settlement issues, as well as adopting a holistic settlement development plan with defined timelines for its implementation in Accra, and possibly other cities with increasing urbanisation.
Date of Award24 Oct 2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorIoanni Delsante (Main Supervisor), Adrian Pitts (Co-Supervisor) & Amir Gohar (Co-Supervisor)

Cite this