- Application of new spatail planning model to Accra City in Ghana.    click here to open paper content129 kb
by    ADANU, SELASE | sadanu@hotmail.com   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
A brief elaboration has been provided to explain what the new spatial planning concerns are about as against the old ones having the inherent weakness of central government control in the management and planning of cities. An attempt has been made to apply the new spatial planning model to spatial planning to the city of Accra which is the capital of Ghana by highlighting the successes and the failures of the implementation of the policy framework.
The interest of this paper to the anticipated audience lies in the application of a new spatial planning model from a developed country to a developing country. This is to determine how feasible the new models application is to Ghana, what the limitations are and how the problems can be overcome.
Regulatory planning by central government has undergone changes over the years leading to regulatory systems and sectoral approaches aim at growth, protecting natural resources as well as putting in place the needed infrastructure for the comfort of society. Empirical evidence shows that such regulatory approaches are not sustainable considering the fact that they provide a short term framework for securing a balance between competing components of a region during a limited period of time. Further, the current complexity of economic, social and cultural phenomenon within the global urban milieu has proved that the conventional approaches lack essential qualities that can address the current urban challenges.

As a result of the weaknesses in the old planning model, a new approach to planning emerged with a focus on project oriented strategic programmes. The project-oriented approach has enhanced the conventional planning methods of urban land use regulation, establishing sector policies on housing, transportation, infrastructure and commerce. With the new approach, urban plans are conceived as city projects that need the involvement of all inhabitants in deciding how the city environment should look like such as involving the local administration in the drafting and execution of plans as a hallmarks of the new spatial planning model. The new development approach to planning also requires cooperation among cities and regions, strategic planning and pursuance of sustainable development goals given the limited land space.

In Ghana the national capital Accra is administered by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA). Accra city has experienced a shift from historical urban land use management concept of a compact city characterised by high density, mixed land use, concentration of settlements at indigenous Ga communities from an economic and ecological point of view to a network city with a car based decentralisation, less density in planned residential areas excluding slum areas.

The departure from this old concept is as a result of high urban growth rate over the past two decades given the slow pace at which utility services such as water, electricity, and efficient sewerage disposal are delivered. Whilst the network city is an improvement upon the compact city, it still has to be improved given the current efforts by most developed countries to ensure more sustainable management of urban cities using the poly-centric approach to optimise building and human density, have a mix of urban land use with space for high ecological and social quality in addition to a transport system compatible with the environment. In the city of Accra urban development can be considered as unsustainable given the lateral expansion of the city, which has taken, over much of the agricultural land space instead of vertical expansion.

Major contributory factors to the rapid urban growth can be explained by socio-economic factors such as migration to the city of Accra for jobs and better standard of living. Since the colonial era, the growth pole concept created a situation of concentration of development at the city centre without any trickle down effect on the towns and villages. The situation has made the city of Accra a pull centre for jobs and recreation. As a result, major problems encountered are congestion in the city centre attributable to human and vehicular traffic, congestion in rooms, waste disposal problems, deteriorating transportation system, flooding problems due to construction of houses in drainage channels, pollution and high rental charges.
The project oriented approach has been applied to management of the cities water system. Under this management system, plans are far advanced to transfer water supply services to private companies to be run in partnership with the government even though civil society opposes it. Urban waste management has also been privatised and contracts given to private companies. These new approaches have not succeeded in solving water deficiency and waste management problems.

Sector policies on housing have shifted focus from Government as provider of houses to an enabler or facilitator of housing services. Serviced plots have come to reduce problems of land litigation emanating from double sale of the same plot of land to two people. Further more, the government has set up a lands commission that is responsible for registering all lands and keep land registers.

The existing urban transportation system is characterised largely by a public transportation system controlled by the Ghana Private Road Transport Union and Taxi Drivers Association. Most of the vehicles that are used for public transport are minibuses cars, which are not able to cope with the demands during peak hours in the morning and evening. To address this problem the Government has introduced a public transportation system in the city where between 30 to 60 passenger capacity busses are run to convey people from one end of the city to the other. Traffic reduction strategies have also been initiated by constructing dual carriage roads to ease traffic at some vantage points in the city. Carbon mono oxide pollution will soon be reduced when the bio-diesel project takes off. Alternative modes of transport such as use of bicycles is also being considered as such new road designs are taking care of providing bicycle ways which used not to be the case. High tariffs are imposed on the importation of over aged vehicles that cause environmental pollution.

Lack of data on urban land used over the years has posed a problem to effective city planning. This problem is now being addressed by an increasing awareness on the importance of Geographic Information System as a tool for collection, storage, data analysis, data modelling, updating and its usefulness in revenue mobilisation for Accra Metropolitan Authority (AMA).

Centralization of Accra city management functions before and after independence has contributed to the incompetent manner in which sanitation problems and revenue mobilisation were handled over the years. To address the problems in a sustainable manner the Accra Metropolitan Authority has decentralised its functions by sub dividing the city into sub-metros where the sub metros have been given the responsibility of managing sub city areas under their domain. There is also and increasing involvement of the city duellers in deciding location of commercial activity zones as a way of elimination the current takeover of the city centre pavements by petty traders.

Solid and liquid waste management has been a persistent problem for many years in Accra. An approach has been developed whereby private companies have been contracted to collect waste from individual homes directly for fees. The involvement of the private sector in this direction has marginally improved waste handling in the city of Accra particularly at planned residential areas where income levels are high excluding low income households.

sustainable city management, strategic planning,decentralization and participatory city planning.
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