The demise of compound houses: consequences for the low income population in Kumasi, Ghana

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    The compound house has long provided the accomodation required by low income households in West African cities. In Kumasi, Ghana, evidence suggests that no new compounds are being built. Instead, the city is being ringed by relatively affluent villa-style development while neighbourhoods dominated by compounds are increasing in density and experiencing considerable extension activity. Within the system of customary tenure through the chieftaincy, the availability and access to land for the lower income segment of the urban population is now extremely limited. The research examines the characteristics of compound housing and analyses the advantages and disadvantages of life within such housing in Kumasi. Issues of privacy, image and communal life are usually cited by occupants dissatiesfied with life in compound houses, and the difficulty of extending them without spoiling the open spaces and the neighbourhood unity is a challenge for urban planners. However they represent good value for money, cost little to build, suit traditional inheritence patterns, allow independent life at low cost and allow sharing of services with a finite and known group (albeit within a potential conflictive domain). Compound housing is suited to hot climates. It is noted that multi-habitation occurs in houses of other designs, but oftenthe courtyard is replaced by access corridors, with serious loss of amenity. There is a need to develop new forms of housing with the advantages of compound housing but which fit into new perceptions of what is acceptable urban life to the growing cohort of young African households. In addition, there is a need to explore innovative forms of tenure in order to secure the majority of Kumasi's population access to land for housing.
    TidsskriftRichs research
    Udgave nummer8
    Sider (fra-til)1-43
    StatusUdgivet - 2006


    • Low-income housing
    • Urbanisation
    • Compound housing

    Kunstnerisk udviklingsvirksomhed (KUV)

    • Nej