Towards an alternative interpretation of the socio-cultural dimensions of urban greenspace planning in the Global South: Evidence from the Kumasi Metropolis of Ghana


Many scholars offer alternatives to Global North theories on urban governance, access to socioeconomic opportunities, and informality in the Global South. Yet, these alternative arguments have scarcely been applied to urban greenspace planning. Oftentimes, residents are characterized negatively as the cause of greenspace decline in African cities due to encroachment and/or vandalism. This paper offers an alternative perspective using data on 400 residents from Ghana’s Kumasi Metropolis. It argues that while residents’ place a low emphasis on urban greenspaces, this is indicative of their prioritization and survival strategies of meeting their needs. To simply characterize residents negatively, therefore, ignores the underlying context and reasons for urban greenspace decline and the contestations between residents’ priorities and urban greenspaces in African cities. This paper suggests an appreciation of local context to integrate residents’ needs and survival strategies into urban greenspace planning in African cities and the Global South in general.

Publication Title

Journal of Urban Affairs