Ideological traces in Ghana's urban plans: How do traces get worked out in the Agbogbloshie, Accra?

Martin Oteng-Ababio, Richard Grant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Neoliberalism, rights to the city, and sustainable development are systems of ideas competing for the attention of policymakers and citizens worldwide. Analyzing Ghana's key urban reports, we produce a heat map of the intensity and fragility of ideas concerning the urban poor. We employ the Agbogbloshie informal settlement as a case study to explore conflicts among diverse planning goals: urban entrepreneurialism, environmental protection, formalization of parts of the informal economy, the reframing of citizenship, and settlement upgrading. Decongestion exercises, shack demolitions, and threats of relocation are strategies employed to restore order, but the settlement's regeneration is beset by transience and piecemeal actions. We introduce hypocrisy as a theoretical analytical perspective to call into question pro-poor urban planning interventions as a way of responding to continuous ambivalent planning measures and framing. Hypocrisy prompts an alternative focus on inconsistencies and contradictions in the planning system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalHabitat International
StatePublished - Jan 2019


  • Accra
  • Agbogbloshie
  • Informal settlement
  • Neoliberalism
  • Rights to the city
  • Sustainable development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urban Studies


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