Managing growth in Ghanaian cities-the role of peripheral District Centres

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Rapid urbanization and growth management has become the greatest problem facing cities worldwide. The problem manifests itself in urban poverty and development of slums, rapid conversion of agriculture land into residential use, poor sanitation and waste management, housing shortage and high accommodation and rent costs, traffic congestion and pollution. The impetuses of these problems are rural-urban migration, inadequate or lack of regulatory frameworks for spatial organization, unemployment and underemployment and inadequate opportunities in the peripheral district centres and rural areas. The primary driving forces of rural-urban migration include the opportunities and services offered in urban areas - especially jobs and education, while in some cases, conflict, land degradation and exhaustion of natural resources in rural areas. Kumasi is the second largest city in Ghana chosen for the study. Its location in the heart of the country makes it a link between the north and the south of the country. Three peripheral district centres Ejisu, New Offinso and Bekwai are also analyzed based on their proximity to Kumasi and the availability of resources that complement the city. The study focused on growth management strategies used by the city Authorities in Kumasi as well an assessment of peripheral district centres’ ability to use Local Economic Development initiatives and be integrated in the management of the city. Even though problems encountered by city authorities are mostly generated from outside the city, decisions about its management are done in isolation of adjoining districts. None of the districts has a distinctive economic identity that can be harnessed for its development. Economic activities are diverse in all peripheral centres and dominated by the informal small scale sector. Majority of economic opportunities are concentrated in the core and continue to attract more investments and FDIs. It is therefore recommended that policies should restrain the growth of extra large cities and increase commitment to the provision of infrastructure and services in peripheral centres. By this, investments will be diffused from the centre and consciously redistributed to other secondary towns to ensure equitable access to services and infrastructure.  
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Science Development Policy and Planning