Planning and Provision of Public Infrastructure: A Case Study of Drainage Canals in Tema, Ghana

What You'll Learn

  • To explore the relevance of inclusiveness in public infrastructure provision in cities under rapid urban growth and climate change

Background Details

Rapid urbanization is a threat to the efficient and proactive provision of basic urban infrastructure. Nonetheless, existing formal regulations and design standards in Ghanaian cities are often outmoded, too expensive, cumbersome to implement and inconsistent with the incremental urban development practices that are prevalent. In response, many urban residents have resorted to self-financing and -provision of their basic infrastructure based on their resource capacities- time, money, and labor.

The research explores a situation in Tema, a Ghanaian city with both planned (estate) and unplanned neighborhoods, with a focus on its drainage systems. The study seeks to address the broader question: How are drainage systems planned and provided in the rapidly urbanizing city of Tema? Using a comparative analytical and multi-scalar approach, the study examines the quality, condition, and connectivity of drains and its relationship with formal regulations, standards, and approaches adopted in three neighborhoods. The local government is expected to finance and provide drainage canals. However, currently, the financing and provision of drainage canals by local residents have become the norm due to delays or the lack of proactive provisioning of drains by the local government.

Residents who are able to afford planned estate areas have the opportunity of having drainage canals provided as part of their purchased/mortgaged housing. Yet, this opportunity is not accessible to most residents who purchase non-estate self-build housing, representing 90 percent of Ghana’s housing stock. As a result, in planned estate areas, relatively high levels of connectivity and quality in the drainage system were found as compared to non-estate areas where drains are mostly self-provided without regard for regulations. This uneven access to adequate and quality drains leads to different levels of vulnerability to flooding hazards.