E-waste recycling slum in the heart of Accra, Ghana: The dirty secrets

Martin Oteng-Ababio, Richard Grant

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


This chapter unpacks reasons underpinning constant contestations for space in Agbogbloshie, an urban area in Ghana’s capital Accra, housing a vegetable market, a scrap metal yard, a vast slum, an industrial area, and a household waste dump. The city authorities, with tacit support from the traditional authorities and some media outlets, employ discursive practices and documentaries to sensationalize the settlement, thereby masking its economic potentials and bringing it into direct conflict with local livelihoods. Bringing Lefebvre’s “right to the city” thesis into conversation with contemporary entrepreneurial urbanism illuminates the authorities’ deviation from its historical focus on all-inclusive development, though they continue to make loud pronouncements in local and international fora. Drawing on Lefebvre’s foundational concept of “lived space, " we demonstrate how the contours of urban place-making are more complex than generally appreciated. Our focus on residents’ place-making and their informal space economy uncover the prospects for rethinking informal urban settlements. By capturing the messy, dynamic, and contextualized processes that give life to informal settlements as places, we suggest reimagining informal settlements to better achieve their real contributions to the city economy as a whole.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Electronic Waste Management
Subtitle of host publicationInternational Best Practices and Case Studies
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9780128170304
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Agbogbloshie
  • Clash of rationalities
  • Informality
  • Lefebvre
  • Place-making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'E-waste recycling slum in the heart of Accra, Ghana: The dirty secrets'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this