An analysis of urban resilience in selected communities in Kumasi and its environs

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June, 2016
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Climate change and rapid urbanisation remain two emerging global threats with widespread implications for poor countries. Yet, despite attempts to address these challenges by governments and international agencies, they remain unabated. Urban resilience concept has been identified as having the potential to ameliorate these challenges. Regardless of this potential, the contribution of urban resilience to sustainable urban environments remains a distant reality in areas most vulnerable to the impacts of these global threats. Understanding of the application of the resilience concept to urban development and its outcomes are limited in Ghana. This study fills this gap by focusing on: the extent of climate change in Kumasi; major urbanisation challenges in Kumasi; local understanding of urban resilience; and efforts towards urban resilience. This research is based on the mixed methods approach, using three case study communities in Kumasi. Using semi-structured interviews, qualitative data were collected from institutional representatives of urban planning-related institutions from January-February 2016. Also, quantitative and qualitative data were collected during the same period from 375 households across the three case study communities; Asawase, Ahinsan Estate and Sisaakyi. The findings indicated that although climate change is a global issue, the impacts are widespread in the case study communities. There is evidence of rising temperature and unpredictable rainfall pattern in Kumasi, resulting in flooding and destruction of natural areas. Complicating matters further are the impacts of rapid urbanisation, including poor sanitation conditions and inadequate social services and facilities. However, these findings vary considerably from one case study to another with poor communities such as Sisaakyi and Asawase most vulnerable. Unfortunately, despite these challenges, there is limited understanding of the urban resilience concept in Kumasi, amongst urban planning-related institutions and local communities. As a consequence, while there is limited evidence of the implementation of the urban resilience tenets, institutional initiatives towards achieving urban resilience are uncoordinated and incomprehensive. This study suggests a need for urban resilience policy to coordinate initiatives towards creating resilient Kumasi. The study further proposes the integration of public awareness on urban resilience in urban development effort. Lastly, the study recommends the exploration of the potential of institutional coordination to ensure harmonisation of efforts towards urban resilience.
Thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements of Master of Science Development Planning and Management, 2016