Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Urban development and emerging relations of informal property and land-based authority in Accra

Abstract
Abstract

Rural–urban migration leads to ever increasing numbers of Africans living in informal settlements. In Accra's largest informal settlement, Old Fadama, residents by definition have no statutory rights to the land and their building activities undermine formal state law and state-recognized customary landowners. Statutory institutions are unable to enforce property rights and alternative interests emerge and organize. In multiple and fragmented ways, local stakeholders create and define their own informal relations of property and land-based authority. This article examines four cases of land transfers, building and development in the settlement that involve a variety of local, national and global actors. Their actions show the contemporaneous making and unmaking of different relations of property and land-based control and authority in the densely populated urban site. Important features of urban development in Accra are thereby shown to be variations in property relations and the multitude of actors that validate land use but that circumvent statutory institutions.

Résumé

En conséquence de l'exode rural, les Africains sont de plus en plus nombreux à vivre dans des peuplements informels. Dans le plus grand peuplement informel d'Accra, Old Fadama, les résidents n'ont, par définition, aucun droit statutaire aux terres et leurs activités de construction sapent le droit étatique formel et les propriétaires fonciers coutumiers reconnus par l’État. Les organes statutaires étant dans l'incapacité de faire appliquer les droits fonciers, des intérêts alternatifs apparaissent et s'organisent. De manières multiples et fragmentées, les parties prenantes locales créent et définissent leurs propres liens de propriété et autorité foncière. Cet article examine quatre cas de transfert, de construction et d'aménagement fonciers dans le peuplement impliquant divers acteurs locaux, nationaux et globaux. Leurs actions montrent la construction et la déconstruction contemporaine de différents liens de propriété et d'autorité foncière dans ce site urbain densément peuplé. L'auteur montre que les importantes caractéristiques de l'urbanisme à Accra sont des variations des liens de propriété et la multitude d'acteurs qui valident l'utilisation des terres, mais que contournent les organes statutaires.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Acquah L. (1958) ‘Accra survey: a social survey of the capital of Ghana, formerly called the Gold Coast, undertaken for the West African Institute of Social and Economic Research, 1953–1956’. Accra: Ghana Universities Press.
Afenah A. (2012) ‘Engineering a millennium city in Accra, Ghana: the Old Fadama intractable issue’, Urban Forum 23: 527–40.
Ayee J. R., Frempong A. K. D., Asante R. and Boafo-Arthur K. (2011) ‘Local power struggles, conflicts and conflict resolution: the causes, dynamics and policy implications of land-related conflicts in the greater Accra and eastern regions of Ghana’. Research Report 3. Dakar: CODESRIA.
Bailey G. (2014–15) ‘Accumulation by dispossession: a critical assessment’, International Socialist Review 95.
Barry M. B., Dewar D., Whittal J. F. and Muzondo I. F. (2007) ‘Land conflicts in informal settlement: Wallacedene in Cape Town, South Africa’, Urban Forum 18: 171–89.
Beall J., Goodfellow T. and Rodgers D. (2011) ‘Cities, conflicts and state fragility’. Crisis States Research Centre Working Paper 85. London: London School of Economics and Political Science <http://www.lse.ac.uk/international-development/Assets/Documents/PDFs/csrc-working-papers-phase-two/wp85.2-cities-conflict-state-fragility.pdf>, accessed 1 November 2017.
Bentsi-Enchill K. (1964) Ghana Land Law: an exposition, analysis and critique. London: Sweet and Maxwell.
Berry S. (2002) ‘Debating the land question in Africa’, Comparative Studies in Society and History 44 (4): 638–68.
Campion B. B. and Acheampong E. (2014) ‘The chieftaincy institution in Ghana: causers and arbitrators of conflicts in industrial jatropha investments’, Sustainability 6: 6332–50.
Carmody P. and Owusu F. (2016) ‘Neoliberalism, urbanization and change in Africa: the political economy of heterotopias’, Journal of African Development 18 (18): 6173.
Chazan N. (1983) An Anatomy of Ghanaian Politics: managing political recession 1969–1982. Boulder CO: Westview Press.
Chernoff J. M. (2003) Hustling Is Not Stealing: stories of an African bar girl. Chicago IL: University of Chicago Press.
Cohen B. (2006) ‘Urbanization in developing countries: current trends, future projections, and key challenges for sustainability’, Technology in Society 28 (1): 6380.
Davis M. (2006) Planet of Slums. London: Verso.
De Boeck F. and Plissart M.-F. (2004) Kinshasa: tales of the invisible city. Tervuren and Ghent: Ludion and Royal Museum for Central Africa.
De Soto H. (2000) The Mystery of Capital: why capitalism triumphs in the West and fails everywhere else. New York NY: Basic Books.
De Souza F. (2001) ‘The future of informal settlements: lessons in the legalization of disputed urban land in Recife, Brazil’, Geoforum 32: 483–92.
Evans P. B., Rueschemeyer D. and Skocpol T. (eds) (1985) Bringing the State Back In. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Farouk B. R. and Owusu M. (2012) ‘“If in doubt, count”: the role of community-driven enumerations in blocking eviction in Old Fadama, Accra’, Environment and Urbanization 24 (1): 4757.
Fourchard L. (2011) ‘Between world history and state formation: new perspectives on African cities’, Journal of African History 52: 223–48.
Gillespie T. (2013) ‘Accumulation by urban dispossession: struggles over urban space in Accra, Ghana’. DPhil thesis, University of Leeds.
Gillespie T. (2016) ‘Accumulation by urban dispossession: struggles over urban space in Accra, Ghana’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 42: 6677.
Government of Ghana (2011) Land Administration Project: phase two. Project implementation main manual. Accra: Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.
Grant R. (2006) ‘Out of place? Global citizens in local spaces: a study of the informal settlements in the Korle Lagoon environs in Accra, Ghana’, Urban Forum 17 (1): 124.
Grant R. (2009) Globalizing City: the urban and economic transformation of Accra, Ghana. New York NY: Syracuse University Press.
Hansen T. B. and Verkaaik O. (2009) ‘Introduction – urban charisma: on everyday mythologies in the city’, Critique of Anthropology 29 (1): 526.
Harvey D. (2003) The New Imperialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Herbst J. (2000) States and Power in Africa. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press.
Housing the Masses (2010) ‘Final report to People's Dialogue on Human Settlements (People's Dialogue, Ghana) on community-led enumeration of Old Fadama community, Accra, Ghana’. N.p.: Housing the Masses <https://knowyourcity.info/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/2009.May3_.2010.Old_Fadama_Enumeration-1_1.pdf>, accessed 19 October 2017.
Jönsson J. (2007) ‘The overwhelming minority: traditional leadership and ethnic conflict in Ghana's northern region’. CRISE Working Paper 30. Oxford: University of Oxford.
Kaplan R. (1994) ‘The coming anarchy: how scarcity, crime, overpopulation, tribalism, and disease are rapidly destroying the social fabric of our planet’, Atlantic Monthly 273: 4475.
Locatelli F. and Nugent P. (eds) (2009) African Cities: competing claims on urban spaces. Leiden: Brill.
Lombard M. (2013) ‘Struggling, suffering, hoping, waiting: perceptions of temporality in two informal neighbourhoods in Mexico’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 31: 813–29.
Lombard M. and Rakodi C. (2016) ‘Urban land conflict in the global South: towards an analytical framework’, Urban Studies 53 (13): 2683–99.
Lund C. (2006) ‘Twilight institutions; public authority and local politics in Africa’, Development and Change 37 (4): 685705.
Lund C. (2016) ‘Rule and rupture: state formation through the production of property and citizenship’, Development and Change 47 (6): 1199–228.
Mohanty M. (2006) ‘Urban squatters, informal sector and livelihood strategies of the poor in Fiji Islands’, Development Bulletin 70: 65–8.
Myers G. (2011) African Cities: alternative visions of urban theory and practice. London and New York NY: Zed Books.
Nielsen M. (2011) ‘Inverse governmentality: the paradoxical production of peri-urban planning in Maputo, Mozambique’, Critique of Anthropology 3 (4): 329–58.
Nugent P. (2010) ‘States and social contracts in Africa’, New Left Review 63: 3568.
Obeng-Odoom F. (2011) ‘The informal sector in Ghana under siege’, Journal of Developing Societies 27: 355–92.
Paller J. W. (2015) ‘Informal networks and access to power to obtain housing in urban slums in Ghana’, Africa Today 62 (1): 3155.
Peck J. and Tickell A. (2002) ‘Neoliberalizing space’, Antipode 34: 380404.
Potts D. (2012) ‘Challenging the myths of urban dynamics in sub-Saharan Africa: the evidence from Nigeria’, World Development 40 (7): 1382–93.
Ribot J. and Peluso N. L. (2003) ‘A theory of access’, Rural Sociology 68 (2): 153–81.
Robinson J. (2006) Ordinary Cities: between modernity and development. Questioning Cities Series. London and New York NY: Routledge.
Rose C. (1998) ‘Canons of property talk, or, Blackstone's anxiety’, Yale Law Journal 108 (3): 601–32.
Saglio-Yatzimirsky M. C. (2013) Dharavi: from mega-slum to urban paradigm. New Delhi: Routledge.
Scott J. C. (1998) Seeing Like a State. New Haven CT and London: Yale University Press.
Shabane I., Nkambwe M. and Chanda R. (2011) ‘Land use, policy, and squatter settlements: the case of peri-urban areas in Botswana’, Applied Geography 31 (2): 677–86.
Shachar A. and Hirschl R. (2007) ‘Citizenship as inherited property’, Political Theory 35 (3): 253–87.
Sikor T. and Lund C. (2009) ‘Access and property: a question of power and authority’, Development and Change 40 (1): 122.
Simone A. M. and Abouhani A. (eds) (2005) Urban Africa: changing contours of survival in the city. London and New York NY: Zed Books.
Songsore J., Amponsah P., Alhassan O., Kala M., Avle S. K. and Chama M. A. (2014) Environmental Health and Disaster Risks, Livelihoods and Ecology within the Korle-Lagoon Complex in Accra, Ghana. Accra: Ghana Universities Press.
Spichiger R. and Stacey P. (2014) ‘Ghana's land reform and gender equality’. Working Paper 1. Copenhagen: Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS).
Stacey P. (2015) ‘Political structure and the limits of recognition and representation in Ghana’, Development and Change 46 (1): 2547.
Stacey P. and Lund C. (2016) ‘In a state of slum: governance in an informal urban settlement in Ghana’, Journal of Modern African Studies 54 (4): 591615.
UN (1997) ‘Glossary of environment statistics’. Studies in Methods, Series F, No. 67. New York NY: United Nations.
UN-Habitat (2011) Participatory Slum Upgrading and Prevention: millennium city of Accra, Ghana. Accra: United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat).
Uphoff N. (1989) ‘Distinguishing power, authority and legitimacy: taking Max Weber at his word by using resources-exchange analysis’, Polity 22 (2): 295322.
Watson V. (2009) ‘“The planned city sweeps the poor away …”: urban planning and 21st century urbanization’, Progress in Planning 72: 151–93.
World Bank (2014) Rising through Cities in Ghana: Ghana urbanization review overview report. Washington DC: World Bank Group.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Africa
  • ISSN: 0001-9720
  • EISSN: 1750-0184
  • URL: /core/journals/africa
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 1
Total number of PDF views: 24 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 217 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 9th January 2018 - 21st January 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.