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. We 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.
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Interview with an official at KMA, June 2013.
Has been explained as a Hausa word meaning ‘traveller’s camp’ or ‘stop-over’ and was used by British Colonial Officials to refer to areas where Muslims lived (see Williamson 2013).
The communities’ representatives at the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly—the highest legislative, deliberative and executive body in the city.
Wooden and metal structures built for petty-trading in informal communities in urban Ghana. They are usually temporal but could also be permanent when they have been placed on foundation made of cement, sand and stone. They can also be used as residential units.
As pointed out by one of the reviewers, remittances is official in terms of its contribution to the GDP—13 % in 2003, see (Mazzucato et al. 2008)—but it could still be treated as an unconventional housing financing source.
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Amoako, C., Frimpong Boamah, E. Build as you earn and learn: informal urbanism and incremental housing financing in Kumasi, Ghana. J Hous and the Built Environ 32, 429–448 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10901-016-9519-0