Urban planning challenges in a ‘chiefly’ city from a collaborative and communicative planning lens


  • Abdul-Hamid Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, KNUST
  • Akanbang Bernard Afiik Akanpabai SD Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies
  • Ibrahim Yakubu
  • Millicent Awialie Akaateba Department of Planning, UBIDS-Wa


The ability of urban planning in sub-Saharan Africa to regulate land uses to achieve harmony and ensure sustainability remains a dream, and this ineffectiveness is partly anchored on the duality of institutions of land ownership and governance. Through the lens of collaborative and communicative planning, this study discusses the context-specific challenges that arise out of urban planning practice under the culturally revered institution of chieftaincy. A case study research design was used as the strategy of inquiry. The target population were divisional chiefs, secretaries of chiefs, physical planning officers, land surveyors, and private land developers. Fourteen (14) key informants, consisting of five divisional chiefs, two secretaries of the divisional chiefs, two physical planning officers, one development control officer, two land surveyors, and two private land developers were sampled. The study used three main data collection methods: in-depth interviews, observation, and document analysis. Content analysis was used to conduct document reviews while thematic analysis was used to analyse key informant interview data. Facilitative leadership of MMDAs, resource capacity of the MMDAs to execute their mandate, conflicting and self-seeking interests of key actors, unequal balance of power between key actors amidst the nonexistence of strong civil society organisations in support of urban planning, and ignorance and indiscipline behaviour of landowners and lessors were identified as the underlying causes of the problems of urban planning from a collaborative and communicative planning lens. The study brought to the fore the need to emphasise partnerships and collaboration and adherence to the tenets of collaboration by the relevant stakeholders if the practice of planning were to deliver efficient and effective development in Tamale.


Download data is not yet available.


Adams, M., Kalabamu, F., & White, R. (2003). Land tenure

policy and practice in Botswana-Governance lessons for southern Africa. Journal fur Entwicklungspolitik, 19(1), 55-74. https://mokoro.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/land_tenure_policy__practice_botswana.pdf

Akaateba, M. A., Ahmed, A., & Inkoom, D. K. B. (2021). Chiefs, land professionals and hybrid planning in Tamale and Techiman, Ghana: Implications for sustainable urban development. International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development, 13(3), 464-480. https://doi.org/10.1080/19463138.2021.1971990

Akaateba, M. A., Akanbang, B. A. A., & Korah, P. I. (2023). Planning public green spaces within customary land tenure contexts: Reflections on the limits to collaborative planning in Tamale, Ghana. Journal of Urban Affairs, 1-24. DOI: 10.1080/07352166.2023.2198133

Akaateba, M. A., Huang, H., & Adumpo, E. A. (2018). Between co-production and institutional hybridity in land delivery: Insights from local planning practice in peri-urban Tamale, Ghana. Land Use Policy, 72, 215-226. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S026483771730011X

Akanbang, B. A. A., Akaateba, M. A., & Korah, P. I. (2021). Tradition meets modernity: creation of sustainable urban spaces in Africa. In Sustainable Urban Futures in Africa (pp. 42-61). Routledge. DOI:10.4324/9781003181484-3

Akanbang, B. A. A., Ibrahim, A. S., & Yakubu, Z. (2021). The evolving dynamics of land administration and its implications for physical planning in Sub-Saharan Africa: experiences from Wa, Ghana. SN Social Sciences, 1(10), 1-23. https://doi.org/10.1007/s43545-021-00269-5

Anaafo, D., & Appiah Takyi, S. (2021). Spatial planning in the digital age: the role of emerging technologies in democratising participation in spatial planning in Ghana. International Planning Studies, 26(2), 117-129. https://doi.org/10.1080/13563475.2020.1752159

Ansell, C., & Gash, A. (2008). Collaborative governance in theory and practice. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 18(4), 543-571. https://academic.oup.com/jpart/article-abstract/18/4/543/1090370

Aribigbola, A (2008). Improving Urban Land Use Planning and Management in Nigeria: The Case of Akure, Theoretical and Empirical Researches in Urban Management, 3 (9) …., Working paper. https://www.jstor.org/stable/24865913

Barry, M., & Danso, E. K. (2014). Tenure security, land registration and customary tenure in a peri-urban Accra community. Land Use Policy, 39, 358-365. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264837714000180

Beauregard, R. A. (1984). Making planning theory: a retrospection. Urban Geography, 5(3), 255-261.

Berke, P. R., & Conroy, M. M. (2000). Are we planning for sustainable development? An evaluation of 30 comprehensive plans. Journal of the American Planning Association, 66(1), 21-33. https://doi.org/10.1080/01944360008976081

Boamah, N. A., Gyimah, C., & Nelson, J. K. B. (2012). Challenges to the enforcement of development controls in the Wa municipality. Habitat International, 36(1), 136-142. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.habitatint.2011.06.010

Brand, R., & Gaffikin, F. (2007). Collaborative planning in an uncollaborative world. Planning Theory, 6(3), 282-313. DOI:10.1177/1473095207082036

Brisbois, M. C., & de Loë, R. C. (2016). Power in collaborative approaches to governance for water: a systematic review. Society & Natural Resources, 29(7), 775-790. https://doi.org/10.1080/08941920.2015.1080339

Brown, A. J. (2002). Collaborative governance versus constitutional politics: decision rules for sustainability from Australia’s South East Queensland forest agreement. Environmental Science & Policy, 5(1), 19-32. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1462-9011(02)00022-9

Burnard, P. (1991). A method of analysing interview transcripts in qualitative research. Nurse Education Today, 11(6), 461-466. https://doi.org/10.1016/0260-6917(91)90009-Y

Burns, T., Grant, C., Nettle, K., Brits, A. M., & Dalrymple, K. (2007). Land administration reform: indicators of success and future challenges. Agriculture and Rural Development Discussion Paper, 37, 1-227. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228957019_Land_administration_reform_indicators_of_success_and_future_challenges

Choi, T., & Robertson, P. j. (2019). Contributrs and free riders in collaborative governance: a computational exploration of social motivation and its effects. J. Public Adm. Res. Theory 29 (3), 394-413. DOI:10.1093/jopart/muy068

Corburn, J. (2003). Bringing local knowledge into environmental decision making: Improving urban planning for communities at risk. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 22(4), 420-433. DOI:10.1177/0739456X03022004008

Creswell, J. W., Hanson, W. E., Clark Plano, V. L., & Morales, A. (2007). Qualitative research designs: Selection and implementation. The Counselling Psychologist, 35(2), 236-264.

Emerson, K., Nabatchi, T., & Balogh, S. (2012). An integrative framework for collaborative governance. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 22(1), 1-29 https://doi.org/10.1093/jopart/mur011

Fainstein, S. S. (2000). New directions in planning theory. Urban Affairs Review, 35(4), 451-478. http://uar.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/35/4/451

Forester, J. (1999). The deliberative practitioner: Encouraging participatory planning processes. Mit Press. ISBN: 9780262561228

Forkuor, D. (2010). Land allocation and its effects on the spatial planning and development of Kumasi Metropolis. Kumasi, Ghana: KNUST. https://dspace.knust.edu.gh/bitstreams/706bcb9a-08d0-4c85-8268-c7323dcf1ff2/download

Forkuor, D., Kyei, P. O., & Forkuor, J. B. (2013). Land Usage Changes and its Effects on the Provision of Social Facilities to Residents of the Kumasi Metropolis of Ghana. Ethiopian Journal of Environmental Studies and Management, 6(3), 324-332. DOI:10.4314/ejesm.v6i3.14

Friedmann, J., Nisbet, R., & Gans, H. J. (1973). The public interest and community participation: Toward a reconstruction of public philosophy. Journal of the American Institute of Planners, 39(1), 2-12.

Frimpong Addo, Y. (2019). Report on the Committee on Environment, Science and Technology on the 2020 programme-based budget estimates of the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation. Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ghana http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/1509

Fuseini, I., & Kemp, J. (2015). A review of spatial planning in Ghana's socio-economic development trajectory: A sustainable development perspective. Land Use Policy, 47, 309-320. DOI:10.1016/j.landusepol.2015.04.020

Futrell, R. (2003). Technical Adversaliarism and participatory collaboration in the US chemical weapons disposal program. Sci. Technol. Human Values 28 (4), 451-482. DOI: 10.1177/0162243903252762

Gaber, J. (2019). Building “A Ladder of Citizen Participation” Sherry Arnstein, Citizen Participation, and Model Cities. Journal of the American Planning Association, 85(3), 188-201. https://doi.org/10.1080/01944363.2019.1612267

Graham, J. P., Hirai, M., & Kim, S. S. (2016). An analysis of water collection labor among women and children in 24 sub-Saharan African countries. PloS One, 11(6), e0155981. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0155981

Ghana Statistical Service (2021). Ghana 2021 Population and Housing Census General Report.

Ghana Statistical Service. (2010). Population and Housing Census. Accra: Ghana Statistical Services.

Gyimah, S. O., Takyi, B. K., & Addai, I. (2006). Challenges to the reproductive-health needs of African women: on religion and maternal health utilization in Ghana. Social Science & Medicine, 62(12), 2930-2944. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2005.11.034

Gyogluu, S. Y. (2006). Infrastructure delivery in rapidly urbanising communal lands: Case studies in Ghana. Thesis submitted to the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. htp://dk.cput.ac.za/td_cput/253

Healey, P. (2003). Collaborative planning in perspective. Planning Theory, 2(2), 101-123.

Healey, P. (2006). Urban complexity and spatial strategies: Towards a relational planning for our times. Routledge ISBN 978041538035

Howlett, M. (2009). Governance modes, policy regimes and operational plans: A multi-level nested model of policy instrument choice and policy design. Policy Sciences, 42, 73-89. DOI:10.1007/S11077-009-9079-1

Ibrahim, A. S., Akanbang, B. A. A., & Laube, W. (2022). Sustaining decentralized collaborative governance arrangements in Africa: A case study of land management committees in the Upper West Region, Ghana. GeoJournal, 87(2), 641-660.DOI 10.1007/s10708-020-10276-3

Ibrahim, A. S., Akanbang, B. A., Nunbogu, A. M., Kuusaana, E. D., & Ahmed, A. (2020). Collaborative customary land governance: Motivations and challenges of forming land management committees (LMCs) in the upper west region. Land Use Policy 99, 2-9. DOI:10.1016/j.landusepol.2020.105051

Innes, J., & Booher, D. (2003). The Impact of Collaborative Planning on Governance. IURD Working Paper, 24. http://hdl.handle.net/10419/23606

Innes, J. E., & Booher, D. E. (2004). Reframing public participation: strategies for the 21st Century. Planning Theory & Practice, 5(4), 419-436. DOI:10.1080/1464935042000293170

Kasanga, R. K. & Kotey, N. A. (2001). Land Management in Ghana: Building on Tradition and Modernity. London: International Institute for Environment and Development. ISBN:9781899825691

Kuusaana, E. D., & Eledi, J. A. (2015). Customary land allocation, urbanization and land use planning in Ghana: Implications for food systems in the Wa Municipality. Land use policy, 48, 454-466.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2015.06.030

MacGaffey, W. (2007). Historical Society of Ghana, a history of Tamale, 1907-1957 and beyond. Trans. Hist. Soc. Ghana New Ser 10, 109-124.

McCann, P. (2001). Urban and regional economics. OUP Catalogue. ISBN: 9780198776451

Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative Data Analysis. An Expanded Sourcebook. Sage: Thousand Oaks, CA.

Mutiara, F., Yanto, T. A., & Takashima, Y. (2008). Managing Asia’s Rapid Urbanisation for Social. Singapore: Adventure Works Press.

Ngetich, K., Atieno, P. O., & Mwangi, S. W. (2004). Effects Conflicts Over Common Pool Resources on Gender Among the Residents of Lower River Nyando Floodplains. Research Gate, 7. DOI:10.20448/journal.510/2016.3.1/510.1.6.15

Purbani, K. (2017). Collaborative planning for city development. A perspective from a city planner. Scientific Review Engineering and Environmental Sciences, 26(1) 136-147. DOI:10.22630/PNIKS.2017.26.1.12

Sokol, M. L. (2012). Theorizing planning practice: Collaborative planning for smart growth on Long Island, New York (Doctoral dissertation, Columbia University). DOI:10.13140/RG.2.1.3779.0803

Takyi, I., & Weigel, H. (2016). Collective coordinates in one- 10dimensional soliton models revisited. Physical Review D, 94(8), 085008. DOI:10.1103/PhysRevD.94.085008

Tasantab, J. C. (2019). Beyond the plan: How land use control practices influence flood risk in Sekondi-Takoradi. Jamba: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies, 11(1), 1-9. DOI:10.4102/jamba.v11i1.638

TCPD. (2011). Manual For the Preparation of Spatial PLans. Accra: Town and Country Planning Department.

Teegavarapu, S., Summers, J. D., & Mocko, G. M. (2008, January). Case study method for design research: A justification. In International design engineering technical conferences and computers and information in engineering conference. DOI:10.1115/DETC2008-49980

TaMA. (2019). Minutes for 1st Quarter Statutory Planning Committee (SMC) sitting. Tamale: Tamale Metropolitan Assembly.

Ubink, J. F. (2007). Tenure security: wishful policy thinking or reality? A case from peri-urban Ghana. J. Afr. Law 51 (2), 198-213. DOI:10.1017/S0021855307000307

Ubink, J. M., & Quan, J. F. (2008). How to combine tradition and modernity? Regulating Customary Land Management in Ghana. Land Use Policy 25(2), 198:213. DOI:10.1016/j.landusepol.2007.06.002

Vodden, K. (2015). Governing sustainable coastal development: The promise and challenge of collaborative governance in Canadian coastal watersheds. The Canadian Geographer/Le Géographe canadien, 59(2), 167-180. https://doi.org/10.1111/cag.12135

Watson, V. (2002). The usefulness of normative planning theories in the context of Sub-Saharan Africa. Planning Theory, 1(1), 27-52. https://doi.org/10.1177/147309520200100103

Yachori, B. (2017). Urban planning capacity development's response to emerging issues of urbanisation in the Wa and Lawra Townships of Upper West Region. Wa: University for Development Studies Thesis and dissertations. http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/1405

Yakubu, I. (2021). From a cluster of villages to a city: Housing politics and the dilemmas of spatial planning in Tamale, Ghana. Land use policy. 109 (2021) Article 105668) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2021.105668

Yeboah, E., & Shaw, D. (2013). Customary Land Tenure Practices in Ghana: Examining the Relationship with Land-use Planning Delivery. International Development Planning Review, 35(1) 21-39. DOI:10.3828/idpr.2013.3

Yeboah, E., & Obeng-Odoom, F. (2010). 'We are not the only ones to blame': District Assemblies' perspectives on the state of planning in Ghana. Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance, (7), 78-98. http://dx.doi.org/10.5130/cjlg.v0i7.1893




How to Cite

Abdul-Hamid, A., Bernard Afiik Akanpabai , A., Yakubu, I., & Awialie Akaateba, M. (2023). Urban planning challenges in a ‘chiefly’ city from a collaborative and communicative planning lens. Journal of Planning and Land Management, 3(1), 1–16. Retrieved from https://sddubidsjplm.com/journal/index.php/jplm/article/view/68



Land Management