Governance for Pro-Poor Urban Development

Lessons from Ghana

By Franklin Obeng-Odoom

© 2014 – Routledge

262 pages

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780415833769
pub: 2013-07-17
US Dollars$145.00

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About the Book

The world development institutions commonly present 'urban governance' as an antidote to the so-called 'urbanisation of poverty' and 'parasitic urbanism' in Africa.

Governance for Pro-Poor Urban Development is a comprehensive and systematic analysis of the meaning, nature, and effects of 'urban governance' in theory and in practice, with a focus on Ghana, a country widely regarded as an island of good governance in the sub region. The book illustrates how diverse groups experience urban governance differently and contextualizes how this experience has worsened social differentiation in cities.

This book will be of great interest to students, teachers, and researchers in development studies, and highly relevant to anyone with an interest in urban studies, geography, political economy, sociology, and African studies.


"…I consider this work a testament of exemplary scholarship. The analyses and arguments are clear while the surveys are insightful and workmanlike. The closing commentaries and conclusions are logical, insightful and especially informative. I find the content and presentation to be original and constitute a significant contribution to the extant body of knowledge on the political economy of urbanization not only in Ghana but also Africa and the developing world in general."Ambe J. Njoh, Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA.

"…It is a solid piece of research and an excellent synthesis of the literature…The work is very strong in deploying a meso level analysis to understanding various policy arenas. A major contribution …is that it understands and links a meso level political economy lens with a meso level urban analysis….It is very impressive how widely read the author is and how deep an understanding he has of diverse literatures. …His command and grasp of the literature is truly breathtaking and outstanding." Richard Grant, Professor of Geography and Regional Studies and Director of Urban Studies, University of Miami, USA

"Given the recent emphasis on and popularisation of the concept of urban governance, this [book] makes a substantial and original contribution to debates on its usefulness and its effectiveness, notably through the detailed case-study of Ghana and through the application of a political economy perspective by which to undertake the analysis and evaluation. An important aspect of this originality is the development of an appropriate analytical framework through combining elements of institutional and Marxist political economy." – Gordon Crawford, Professor of Development Politics, University of Leeds, UK.

"The book provides a better understanding of urbanization in Ghana, pulling together in a single volume the many different and complex aspects of the phenomenon. Researchers, students, practitioners, and policymakers interested in urban development in Ghana and Africa will certainly find this book a useful resource." – George Owusu, Department of Geography & Resource Development, and Institute of Statistical, Social & Economic Research (ISSER), University of Ghana

"[T]he book is a brilliant, thoughtfully-produced and pragmatic depiction of the urban challenge in Ghana and the failure of neoliberal driven urban governance policies in addressing it. The extensive coverage given to urban employment, poverty and inequality, health and sanitation, transport, housing and land, in particular, makes the book a valuable read. I am convinced that I will be returning to Governance for Pro-Poor Urban Development: Lessons from Ghana frequently as a reference text. Students, researchers and policy makers in Ghana and Sub-Saharan Afric also stand to benefit from the issues that have been excellently articulated. The book is highly recommended." – UrbanAfica, Robert Lawrence Afutu-Kotey, University of Professional Studies, Ghana

"[T]he book is solid in its analysis and a valuable contribution to understand contemporary local government and urbanization in Africa. It is a publication not to be missed for those who want to think about the urban future of African countries, which are, together with India and Indonesia, the next wave of a large scale of urbanization."Jose A. Puppim de Oliveira, Public Administration and Development

Table of Contents

Part 1. Understanding Urban Governance and Cities 1. Introduction 2. Understanding, Historicising, and Conceptualising Urban Governance 3. Theoretical Issues in Urban Analysis Part 2. Urban Problems and Policies in Ghana 4. Urban Employment, Growth, Inequality and Poverty 5. Water, Waste, and Health 6. Urban Transport and Mobility 7. Urban Housing 8. Urban Land Part 3: Evaluation and Prospects of Urban Governance 9. Electoral Governance and Multiple Dimensions of Poverty 10. Urban Governance: Selected Experiences in A frica 11. The Last Word

About the Author

Franklin Obeng-Odoom is an urban researcher at the School of the Built Environment at the University of Technology, Sydney where he is the Chancellor's Postdoctoral Research Fellow.

In January 2013, he was appointed by the International Social Science Council as a World Social Science Fellow for work on sustainable urbanisation, three years after becoming a Dan David Scholar for 'innovative and interdisciplinary research that cuts across traditional boundaries and paradigms'.

His research interests are in political economy of cities and natural resources especially water, oil, and land, and political economy of development.

Franklin's research has appeared in Review of African Political Economy, The Review of Black Political Economy, and Review of Social Economy, Regional Studies, Cities, and Housing Studies.

He is Associate Editor of African Review of Economics and Finance and Journal of Sustainable Development, and the Book Review Editor of Journal of International Real Estate and Construction Studies. In addition he serves on the editorial board of Urban Challenge (Urbani Izziv).

About the Series

Routledge Explorations in Development Studies

The series features innovative and original research at the regional and global scale. Its scope extends to scholarly works that take an interdisciplinary and comparative approach.

In terms of theory and method, rather than basing itself on any one orthodoxy, the series draws broadly on the tool kit of the social sciences in general, emphasizing comparison, the analysis of the structure and processes, and the application of qualitative and quantitative methods.

The series welcomes submissions from established authors in the field as well as from junior authors. To submit proposals, please contact the Editor, Rebecca Brennan (

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Economic Development
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Environmental Economics
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy

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