Build as you earn and learn

Informal urbanism and incremental housing financing in Kumasi, Ghana.

Building Materials and Conditions in Ayigya Zongo and Dakodwom.

Building Materials and Conditions in Ayigya Zongo and Dakodwom. Source: Photographs taken from field survey, 2013

Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah, assistant professor of urban and regional planning, and Clifford Amoako explore informal housing dynamics in Kumasi, Ghana.

The continuous evolution, proliferation and resilience of informal housing in cities of developing countries defy all attempts by their formal planning processes to marginalise and relegate them to the periphery. In most instances, their rapid and uncontrolled growth has overwhelmed city planning authorities. More importantly, strategies for financing these informal housing units present complex networks of sources not clearly discussed in the housing literature. Using two informal communities—Ayigya-Zongo and Dakodwom—in Kumasi, Ghana, this paper explores the nature and characteristics of these non-conventional housing financing strategies.

The study reveals an evolving and enduring non-conventional informal housing financing system effective for providing convenient and affordable housing for the urban poor; but this system is continuously sidelined by the conventional urban planning and housing financing systems. They argue against these attitudes of formal institutions towards these non-conventional housing financing strategies, and submit that these strategies are the gradual, incremental, and collective responses of residents in informal communities to a hostile formal urban planning and housing environment. Hence the dynamics of these non-conventional housing financing schemes point to a complex and fluid network of informal housing financial sources and structures, which are co-evolving with the processes of informal urbanisation and social learning among residents in informal settlements.


Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah, Assistant Professor
Department of Urban and Regional Planning

Clifford Amoako, Department of Planning
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)
Kumasi, Ghana


Urban Studies

Date Published