Provision and management of infrastructural facilities in informal settlements in Kumasi

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Recent reports have discussed the rapid rate of urbanisation in developing countries, the extent to which far exceeds the capacity of urban managers to deal with. One key area of concern is the rate at which rural-urban migration and dislocation of city dwellers relative to the supply of formal housing, leads to majority of city dwellers resorting to informal settlements. Regardless of the relevance of these settlements in accommodating most of the urban citizens in developing countries, they often receive the least of public expenditure. Hence, informal settlements lack the right and access to basic infrastructure and services such as water supply, sewage and drainage, paved roads, lighting and electricity supply, public transport and garbage disposal. However, the basic forms of these infrastructural facilities and services are inevitable for human sustenance. The study was undertaken to examine how infrastructural facilities are provided and managed in informal settlements in Kumasi. It employed the use of household and physical surveys, institutional interviews as well as review of documents and reports. Four settlements representing the categories of informal settlements in the Kumasi Metropolis were selected for detailed study. The study revealed a mixed level of infrastructural facilities in the settlements, with reasonably appreciable levels of access to potable water, while access to improved sanitation and access roads remained poor. Interestingly, there is high access to improved sanitation in Ohwim, the unauthorised subdivision, emphasising its relatively improved socio-economic conditions compared to the other categories. It also showed interplay of modes in providing infrastructure in the settlements including public provision, individuals, community initiatives and public-private partnerships. Regardless of the relative poor conditions of infrastructural facilities in the informal settlements, the study identified willingness to pay and multi-household housing environment as potentials for improving infrastructural levels. The main challenges identified in infrastructure provision are insecure tenure, haphazard development and high infrastructural standards requirements. In order to improve the conditions of infrastructure in informal settlements, the study recommends the adoption of a revolving fund, as a flexible financing scheme, to utilise the resources of residents in providing in-built toilet facilities. In addition, it recommends the recognition and empowerment of residents in controlling physical development in their settlements as well as a revision of policy regulations to promote affordable forms of infrastructural facilities.
A Thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master Of Philosophy (Mphil) PLANNING Department of Planning College of Art and Built Environment October, 2015