Housing and Development Strategies in Ghana, 1945–2000
International Development Planning Review
Housing has occupied an ambiguous place in debates about international development, and about how development should be promoted. The dominant view in the 1940s and 50s was that housing absorbs resources from other productive investments. Not surprisingly development experts accorded a low priority to the sector. Since the early 1960s, there has been a progressive shift in the way that development economists, in particular, have thought about the role of housing in development. Against the background of a continuous shift in opinion, the dearth of in-depth studies on this topic is surprising. With a focus on Ghana, this paper takes a modest step in tracing the changing views about the economic significance of housing in the development process. The analysis indicates that, in principle, views of Ghanaian policy makers about economic aspects of housing have progressed from a narrow and obscure understanding to a broader view. However, in planning and in policy practice, they still have a lot to do.