The capacity to plan, develop and coordinate the spatial distribution of human activities in rapidly growing settlements is critical for national socio-economic progress. Using Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis as a study area, this research compares and contrasts the two land administrative systems, namely, State Lands and Stool Lands and assesses their relative influences on physical development. Following preliminary investigations and the updating of sector layouts for the five selected areas, primary data was collected on a sample of 250 homeowners selected through systematic sampling technique while institutions were purposively selected for in-depth interviews. The research found that the Land Allocation committees were ineffective and as result, the land purchasers dealt with chiefs rather than the committee. The analyses also showed that planning schemes were not comprehensive enough to meet increasing demands for recreational and commercial activities. The Traditional Authorities were not informed about updates to sector layouts and as a result allocated lands were based on old planning schemes. These updates were largely carried out to retrofit uncontrolled physical development into the planning schemes. The land documentation process was found to be time consuming and burdensome. As a result, physical development occurred contrary to planning schemes as developers ignored the process. This uncoordinated development was also attributable to the weak resource base in terms of logistics, funds and staff capacity in the official land sector institutions.

The study recommends that state institution should offer training to the chiefs as well as the Land Allocation Committee. Experts on land issues should constitute the committee in order to discharge their duties effectively. The committee members are also to ensure that the necessary official documents are obtained by the developers to before development is carried out. In order to minimize unauthorised development of the study recommends that lands on the frontages of major roads should be designated for residential/commercial uses. Thus purely residential uses should not permitted along major roads. Institutions like the Building Inspectorate Division and the Survey Unit should be privatised and run as a commercial entity in order to generate money for the smooth running of the office. The Land Use Planning Bill which is currently before Parliament should be hastened to make Physical Planning Department an autonomous organisation with powers to enforce development control.

1.1 Background of the Research
As a critical natural resource, land supports all forms of human activities. It is the source of investments in agriculture, infrastructure, housing, industry and trade which provides various forms of livelihoods and generates wealth. Land is an economic resource and social asset which has spatial and environmental implications. As a result effective and efficient land administration is needed to sustain it for present and future generation (UNECA, 2004). The use or function to which land is put is seen as land use. Urban land use is used in several ways and has attracted various definitions in contemporary planning literature. The underlying definition that cut across views land use as the spatial distribution of the functions (such as residential areas, commercial centres, and the spaces set aside for institutional and leisure-time activities) a city plays.

Land use planning is a process which involves designating space for various land uses with reverence to planning principle including comfort, aesthetic, compatibility of uses and accessibility. The objective is to ensure planned and coordinated development. Land allocation influences the land use planning in that when the owners of land do not alienate land with reference to planning schemes, planned development will not be achieved.

Urban land use planning promotes harmonious spatial distribution of human activities. It describes the manner in which humans utilize land to provide shelter, office space, recreational area, extraction of minerals, and agricultural purposes (Briassoulis, 1999). Miller (1996:265) has argued that land use decides “the best present and future use of each parcel of land in an area”. It does this by addressing present interests, aspirations, power relations and livelihood concerns while making provisions for the sustenance of future generations. Another component of land use planning is the flexibility factor. Flexibility is seen as the ability to tolerate unexpected changes in circumstances, and produce new or amended plans quickly when necessary. Prepared layouts and effective legislative instruments are necessary for development control. The absence of these however leads to haphazard development which has environmental and socio-economic consequences (UNECA, 2004). The conception of new subdivisions of land and new trends of land use has significant impact on the land market. The urban land economists on the other hand hold the view that, free exchange within a system of private property rights leads to efficient resource allocation. The derivation of the bid-rent curve concept which indicates that land markets allocate heterogeneous parcels of land to their highest and best uses in light of household consumption choices was an early achievement in land economics. The alienation and development of land has therefore been established on different approaches. To ensure sustainability and coordinated land use developments, the administration of land should be a priority to all governments.

Land administration covers the recording and dissemination of information about the ownership, value and use of land (UNECA, 2004). Dale and McLaughlin (1999) view land administration as a combination of routine processes. These processes begins from regulating land development and conservation of land; revenue mobilization from land transactions and resolution of land conflicts. Steudler et al (2004) sum up these components as land ownership, land development control and land use planning and fiscal (land taxation) and information management. Land use is influenced by land development, socially rooted determinants of land use; and public interest as a determinant of land use. The kind of development that is highly demanded, as well as the traditional setting (customs and beliefs) influences the kind of land use designed for the area. The interest of the public is also highly recognised and that can alter the use to which land is put.

The control and management of land has been problematic in urban centers in developing countries particularly in sub-Sahara Africa (Getis et al. 2006; Kombe and Kreibich, 1997). The existing systems of land tenure which shape the urban land market have far-reaching implications for urban planning. As Gareth (1991), Olima (1993), Kivell (1993) have suggested, whoever controls landholdings controls the land market and determines the nature of urban planning.

Lands in Africa are predominantly owned and managed by traditional authorities, chiefs, clan heads and families (Arko-Adjei, 2005; LAP, 2007; Kasanga et al. 1996; Ubink 2008). The land ownership systems in Ghana are state lands, vested lands and customary lands. The customary sector holds about 80 percent of all land whereas the state and vested lands consist of about 20 percent with varying tenure and management systems (Arko-Adjei, 2005). These different systems complicate the physical development processes and outcomes. Customarily land is viewed as a resource that belongs to, and connects the living, the dead and the unborn (Dadson, 2006). It is seen as a property that has to be preserved and efficiently used so that it can be passed on from one generation to the other. However, in the contemporary era, economic considerations have generally displaced these cultural perspectives. While traditional authorities manage the lands, the actual utilisation of the land is determined by official land management institutions.

Customary authorities are responsible for the allocation, administration and management of a large percentage of the area of the country. Traditional authorities maintain a strong position with regard to land. They play a prominent role in land delivery, land development and its management. Under the traditional system chiefs, sub-chiefs and other agents of the traditional authorities are responsible for the allocation and management of the stool/skin lands. Chiefs and family heads that hold the land in trust for the people possess strong traditional, political and economic authority but do not match up to the skills needed for land allocation and its management. Wehrmann (2008) states that, competition between developers‟ results in the double sale of land by land owners and change of use without conformity to plans.

These systems influence the urban land market and therefore shape the spatial distribution of land development and urban economic activities in a largely unplanned manner with implications for development. The Local Government Act, 1993 (Act 462) vests the responsibility to control land development in human settlements in the „hands‟ to the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDA‟s). This role is performed by the Physical Planning Department (PPD) and Works Departments. There is therefore an apparent tension created between the traditional authorities and the official land managers. In Ghana, land administration is beleaguered by a countless problems including general „indiscipline‟ in the land market, which have led to encroachments on public spaces and multiple land sales (Arko-Adjei, 2005; LAP, 2007; Ubink, 2008). These problems have contributed to conflicts and litigations between land developers and among traditional authorities. Some strategies put in place by Government, such as capacity building and training in Geographic Information System (GIS) of land sector staff, participatory planning (bottom-up approach to planning), and the Land Administration Project (LAP) have led to an improvement in the land sector. However, these solutions have mainly focused on enhancing the capacity of land related institutions. There is still a growing outcry for better land delivery and management systems to ensure coordinated spatial development. This research therefore explores the weaknesses and tensions associated with the official and traditional land administrative systems in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis.

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Item Type: Ghanaian Topic  |  Size: 142 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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