Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Dr. Godwin Arku

Second Advisor

Dr. Alex Asiedu


Ghana's capital, Accra, experienced significant population, commercial, and

spatial changes since the early 1980s, when the country implemented macroeconomic

reforms. One of these changes is widespread land-use conversion, largely from

residential to commercial units. This study examines the background and processes of

conversion, major causal factors, their impact on the urban built environment and

livelihood o f actors involved. The study derives from 39 in-depth interviews with key

informants. Strategic reports and documents are used to contextualize the interview

results. The findings indicate residential property is being converted into commercial

space due to a lack of affordable, formal commercial space and the desire to own

enterprises to assist with daily subsistence. Many of these businesses are small scale, and

the conversion is occurring with much informality. The implications of these conversions

in terms of economic reforms, planning, and long-term sustainability of the city in a

global marketplace are discussed.



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