Improving the land delivery system for the urban poor – a case study of Kumasi

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February, 2010
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Urban land development has always been and still is a problem facing the world in general and Africa in particular. Throughout history, the competition for natural resources has made people to move and converge at areas where these resources are abundant. Rural-urban migration plays a vital role in this direction. The resultant effect is that several urban areas have expanded and continue to grow thus providing fertile grounds for land use conflicts. The environmental effects of this continuous movement of people from the rural areas to the urban centres are illegal developments at unapproved sites leading to slums and squatter settlements. The urban poor live with many deprivations such as access to employment, land, adequate housing and infrastructure, social protection, lack of access to health, education and personal security. They survive through their own initiative and yet most of their initiatives are deemed illegal. Three slum areas and a squatter settlement were randomly selected within the Kumasi Metropolitan Area. The areas were chosen based on the multi-ethnic and socio-economic background and the type of residential properties they occupy. Four Hundred respondents being residents were purposively selected from the four suburbs. Eight government institutions connected with land delivery were also selected for the study. The grand sample size for the study was the multi-stage sampling involving a three stage sampling procedure. Interviewing and questionnaire schedules were adopted as data collection technique for the study. Institutional capability to help the urban poor was discovered to be constrained by inadequate staffing, poor remuneration and monitoring. It was also realized that there is no programme which is developed to cater for the land needs of the urban poor. In most cases the housing projects and others that are developed as low-cost are beyond the reach of the urban poor. Based on the strength of the findings of the study, it was concluded that the housing situation of the urban poor should involve all interest groups especially the institutions connected with land management and seek to identify and solve problems before they arise. There should be a policy (on the part of the government) to introduce the urban poor into the formal land market. This can be done in two ways. Firstly, there is the need to increase the supply of land for the urban poor through the provision of site and services. The second intervention is to increase the effective demand for land for the urban poor. It has been argued that subsidizing the poor is not sustainable. To increase effective demand for the urban poor, there is the need for community-based organization and increasing savings and providing access to finance.
A Thesis submitted to the Board of Graduate Studies Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Land Management.