ABSTRACTFollowing decades of rapid urbanization in Africa, national governments are increasingly becoming overwhelmed by challenges posed by cities. Urban policy interventions over the years have usually excluded issues on the environment, particularly that of green spaces. As a result, urban environments in many countries have quickly degenerated.
A typical case is that of Kumasi, Ghana s second largest city. Once celebrated as the Garden City of West Africa in the 1950s, the city s population has more than tripled in the last three decades, resulting in the decimation of its green spaces, and an erosion of its Garden City image. This study set out to investigate the causes behind the decimation of Kumasi s green spaces and to offer recommendations on how it could re-emerge as an ecological city. The research approach to this interdisciplinary study was largely qualitative. Semi-structured questionnaires were used to interview representatives of agencies in the public, private, and traditional sectors of the city. A limited number of user-surveys were also conducted. The interviews were preceded by an appraisal of the physical problems using mapping, photography, and observation.
Problems identified included: decimation of riparian vegetations and street trees; undeveloped neighbourhood open spaces; anddeterioration of regional facilities under public sector management. On the whole, the institutional problems behind these phenomena were found to have stemmed from political neglect as well as problems in the overall administration and spatial management mechanisms in the city. Specifically, the problems included the absence of a comprehensive management plan, inadequate institutional capacity, lack of judicial support system, lapses in land administration, lack of community participation, and poor collaboration among cognate agencies.
Consequently, recommendations were made to enhance the efficiency of the management process for green spaces in the city. Beyond these, the need for renewed political commitment to green space issues, collaboration between the traditional and political institutions, and the speedy implementation of Ghana s decentralisation process have been emphasized as equally vital to Kumasi s ecological future