Importance of Town Planning System in Ghana

There are fashions in building. Behind the fashions lie economic and technological reasons, and these fashions exclude all but a few genuinely different possibilities in city dwelling construction at any one time.”

Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

World Town Planning day, was founded in 1949 by the late Professor Carlos Maria Della Paolera of the University of Buenos Aires, a graduate at the Institut d’urbanisme in Paris, to advance public and professional interest in planning. It is celebrated in more than 30 countries on four continents, each November 8th, of which Ghana  too, takes part in.

Nevertheless, Ghana is still struggling to develop its planning vision to create livable communities, because a lot of its people live in informal areas like the slums or zongos. The rapid growth of these slums and informal towns have put stress on individuals to provide their own services such as energy, education, health care, transportation, sanitation and physical security. Because governments have less revenues to spend on the basic upkeep of these slums and the provision of services, slums have become areas of massive concern, serious environmental problems, widespread poverty and disease.

Accra, the Capital of Ghana, is among the fastest growing cities in Africa with a growth rate of 4% yearly, while other developed cities are growing by 2%. The population of Ghana is 25.37 Million as of 2012. Ghana has a good stable political system and is the gateway to Africa.  Lets take a closer look at the statistics of Accra:

-Population of Accra is 4,010,054 as of 2012

– Area: 185km²

– CO2 emission per inhabitant:0,4 tn

– Divided into 11 sub-metropolitan areas

Poor sanitation costs Ghana US$290 million each year –representing 1.6% of National Gross Domestic Product. US$54 million is spent each year on health care, treating diarrhoea and its consequences for other diseases like respiratory infections and malaria.

This problem is caused by the unacceptable lack of proper town country planning policies and practices. Without urgent effective solutions from urban planning and management in Ghana, the Ghana vision to attain middle-class economic status by 2015 may remain solely a dream. Only one university offers a course in town planning out of almost 40 accredited Universities in Ghana, which is Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).

Most of the Metropolitan areas are not part of the Town Planning Department, and most of the districts do not have town-planning officers.

There is an urgent need for the government and all Ghanaian to join hands together as a team to give adequate support to the town planning officers in order to reform the planning system in Ghana. Town Planning can be divided into two parts; land use management and strategic planning.

Strategic planning is an extensive term plan of what will be happen in the coming years ahead. It is useful for future expansion of whole new towns and for developing or redesigning existing towns. Land use management is applied to evaluate each part of land including zoning, building restrictions, sewerage, water systems.

Importance of Reforming the Town Planning System in Ghana.

The Town planners with support from the government will look at the needs of people and the environment whilst respecting limits to development. The Town Planners will also recognize regional limits to development in order to maintain natural habitats and biodiversity, which is very important to our continued existence.

The Town Planners(TP) will also check the size and appearance of new buildings, and their impact on communities across the country before they are built.

They (TP) will help to increase the government revenue and also create employment for the youth.

They will supervises the construction of buildings in the country and ensure that “translating what is on paper to the ground” will not become a problem and it will also reduce indiscipline on both the house owner and the contractor.

They will also enforce and develop appropriate local government bye-laws; environmental management and waste management rules are obeyed by every citizen.

They will impact knowledge, experience,skills and good planning practices for the country,and also serve as a platform that every building contractor can use as reference.

They will also assign Land use planning- and help in differentiating land for school, market/super market, hospitals, playground/recreational centre and library.

Last but not the least they will also help to develop Street names, since street names are the ultimate manifestation of a cities, politics, culture and ideologies, and they also provide a common language for a city and its inhabitants. They are the meters of change often reflecting dynamic struggles of power within the city limits.


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