Urban management and sustainable development : the case of the squatting and street trading population of Kumasi
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The single most important tool for dealing with the challenges that urbanisation presents, especially for cities in developing countries, is management or governance. Urbanisation presents towns and cities and the people who inhabit them with a lot of challenges not ever seen before in human history. Sad to note however, cities in developing countries do not seem to be able to take advantage of these opportunities. They have had to contend with so many challenges that it makes it very difficult for them to seize fully the opportunities that urbanisation presents. Such problems as filth, overcrowding, lack of employment, high rate of crime, inadequate housing facilities, and many others have become the lot of these cities. So the question has often been asked; what are the appropriate strategies for dealing with these urbanisation-induced challenges which appear to have dogged the experience of cities in the South for the greater part of their lives? It is apparent that whatever management strategies that have so far been employed, have not succeeded in dealing adequately with these challenges. Thus, instead of management serving as a tool for dealing with these challenges, it has in itself become a challenge in most cities in the developing world. Surprisingly, street trading and squatting are two of the biggest challenges facing city authorities in Kumasi. This paper explores how these problems have been managed over the years by the authorities. From this the paper tries to draw lessons about how the problems can be sustainably managed for sustainable development. The Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) which is in charge of managing the city of Kumasi has oft-been accused of using a non-participatory and confrontational approach in dealing with these problems. The study found little evidence to show that the city authorities have in managing these problems adequately involved all major stakeholders. The irony is that, the KMA is itself an organ of local government and a decentralised administrative setup which has as its foundation, popular participation in the process of government. In the meantime, the UN-HABITAT (2008) calls on governments “to act more proactively on shifts towards participatory management that help create ownership over decision-making and daily management practices” because apparently, it has observed that “state-only” and “market-only” approaches to urban management have failed. The study finds out that participatory management may be the ideal approach especially in the face of the many challenges that the confrontational approach used by the authorities pose to traders, squatters and their families and therefore recommends that the requisite systems are put in place for the realisation of same. Concurrently the study also finds that an integrative or inclusionist orientation with a participatory approach may, given the current prevailing circumstances in Kumasi, be more idealistic than realistic. This is because, such prerequisites as a united strong civil society group to participate in the process of negotiation and deliberation is almost nonexistent. There are also conflicting interests, whose reconciliation will not be easy at all, but which need, in order for a smooth and healthy collaboration among all parties, to be reconciled.
Masteroppgave i development management- Universitetet i Agder 2009