Geography Publications


The Economics of Housing Programmes in Ghana, 1929–66

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Planning Perspectives





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Researchers have generally assumed that housing policies of the colonial and the immediate post‐colonial governments were shaped solely by social and political considerations. From a social perspective, some have argued that governments intervened in the housing field purely on health grounds to create good sanitary conditions and prevent the spread of diseases, especially amongst the colonizers and indigenous educated elites. From a political perspective, writers have argued that the key goal for most housing programmes was to prevent unrest and ensure political longevity. Even though each of these arguments has some merit, little, if any, consideration has been given to the economic logic of housing policies and programmes. Indeed, researchers have generally assumed that colonial and immediate post‐colonial governments never considered the economic significance of housing. This assumption is incorrect. Through surveying published and archival sources, this paper aims to rectify the neglect of the economic logic of housing policies by demonstrating that economic implications were considered in the implementation of housing policies and programmes. As will be shown, housing was seen not only as a necessary tool to secure labour and improve productivity, but also as an essential element for the success of economic development projects, especially industrialization programmes.