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The Proliferation of Gated Communities in Ghana: A New Institutionalism Perspective



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Ehwi, Richmond Juvenile  ORCID logo


From the late 1980s, debates regarding the proliferation of gated communities have progressed from being US-centric to acknowledgement of an international research agenda. Despite their ubiquity globally, there is a dearth of empirical research about how developers of gated communities navigate the processes heralding the commencement of their projects. Previous studies have focused upon the mutually beneficial relationship between developers and fiscally distressed local government authorities. Such studies also reflect exigencies in contexts with privatised land markets, and local planning authorities wield unfettered control over urban planning and residential development. However, in Ghana, where gated communities are rapidly proliferating, the land administration and land-use planning systems are problematic. Hence this research examines how the land administration and landuse planning systems in Ghana have contributed to the proliferation of gated communities following experiences from key actors involved in the development process and residents who move into gated communities. Drawing upon new institutionalism and using a mixed research method, the research presents the case of the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area. It finds that the institutional landscape in Ghana's built environment creates both direct and indirect incentives that benefit developers. Also, the challenges in land administration and land-use planning shape how developers understand gated communities, the typology found in Ghana, and the features that characterize them. Additionally, developers’ engagement with other key actors in the development process reinforces 'practical norms' in the land acquisition, land title registration, and building permit acquisition in Ghana. Finally, the research confirms the hypothesis that land administration challenges in Ghana significantly contribute to why people move into gated communities. Also, residents' demographic and locational characteristics emerged as significant predictors of their likelihood to move into gated communities due to land administration challenges. The research also reflects on implications for theory, future research and policy.





Tyler, Peter
Morrison, Nicola


Gated communities, Land administration, land use planning, Greater Accra Metropolitan Area, Inner-city, Middle-core, Peri-urban, serviced-plot-gated-communities, hybrid gated communities, master-planned-and-built gated communities


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge
Cambridge Africa Scholarship (Cambridge Trust)