International Development Planning Review

The family housing sector in urban Ghana: exploring the dynamics of tenure arrangements and the nature of family support networks

International Development Planning Review (2016), 38, (3), 297–316.

Abstract

In urban West Africa, living rent-free in family-owned houses is common among the low-income population. Drawing on research from Kumasi, Ghana, this paper explores the dynamics of this non-market tenure, in terms of the nature of family support networks/reciprocity and how collective ownership and multiple-occupancy arrangements affect dwelling conditions and the rights derived by tenants. The practice of extending support among members of the kinsfolk, underpinned by traditional values of reciprocity, were found to be stable within the present-day family house. However, the younger generation of residents expressed the view that to support members of the kinsfolk was overburdensome given the prevailing economic hardship and their limited resource capacity. Tenure security across generations was not guaranteed for access-by-privilege residents. Also, shared-ownership meant that for the majority of residents, the family house could not serve as a productive asset from which wealth could be released in response to economic shocks. Most households crowded in single rooms, shared strained housing facilities and lacked privacy. These dynamics could potentially turn preferences away from rent-free family housing in the future, and thus generate a greater need for rental housing in the city. Affordable rental housing development would be required to adequately meet the emerging need.

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Aboderin, I. (2004a) ‘Decline in material family support for older people in urban Ghana, Africa: understanding processes and causes of change’, The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 59(3), S128-37. ‘Decline in material family support for older people in urban Ghana, Africa: understanding processes and causes of change’ The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 59 S128 37 Google Scholar

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Goode, William J. (1970) World revolution and family patterns, New York, Free Press. World revolution and family patterns Google Scholar

Gough, K. V. and Kellett, P. (2001) ‘Housing consolidation and home-based income generation: evidence from self-help settlements in two colombian cities’, Cities, 18(4), 235-47. ‘Housing consolidation and home-based income generation: evidence from self-help settlements in two colombian cities’ Cities 18 235 47 Google Scholar

Gough, K. V. and Yankson, P. W. K. (2011) ‘A neglected aspect of the housing market. The caretakers of peri-urban Accra, Ghana’, Urban Studies, 48(4), 793-810. ‘A neglected aspect of the housing market. The caretakers of peri-urban Accra, Ghana’ Urban Studies 48 793 810 Google Scholar

Hilson, G. and Potter, C (2005) ‘Structural adjustment and subsistence industry: artisanal gold mining in Ghana’, Development and Change, 36(1), 103-31. ‘Structural adjustment and subsistence industry: artisanal gold mining in Ghana’ Development and Change 36 103 31 Google Scholar

Huan, C. and Mahoney, J. (2002) ‘Equity release mortgages’, Housing Finance International, 16(4), 29-35. ‘Equity release mortgages’ Housing Finance International 16 29 35 Google Scholar

Hubert, F. (2006) ‘The economic theory of housing tenure choice’, in R. J. Arnott and D. P. McMillen (eds) A companion to urban economics, Boston, Blackwell Publishing, 145-58. ‘The economic theory of housing tenure choice’ A companion to urban economics 145 58 Google Scholar

Jiafeng W. (2009) ‘Some reflections on modernization theory and globalization theory’, Chinese Studies in History, 43(1), 72-98. ‘Some reflections on modernization theory and globalization theory’ Chinese Studies in History 43 72 98 Google Scholar

Konadu-Agyemang, K. (2001) ‘Structural adjustment programs and housing affordability in Accra, Ghana’, The Canadian Geographer/Le Géographe canadien, 45(4), 528-44. ‘Structural adjustment programs and housing affordability in Accra, Ghana’ The Canadian Geographer/Le Géographe canadien 45 528 44 Google Scholar

Korboe, D. (1992) ‘Family-houses in Ghanaian cities: to be or not to be?’, Urban Studies, 29(7), 1159-71. ‘Family-houses in Ghanaian cities: to be or not to be?’ Urban Studies 29 1159 71 Google Scholar

Lall S., Navaretti, G. B., Teitel, S. and Wignaraja, G. (1994) Technology and enterprise development: Ghana under structural adjustment, New York, St. Martin’s Press. Technology and enterprise development: Ghana under structural adjustment Google Scholar

Langevang, T. (2008) ‘“We are managing!” Uncertain paths to respectable adulthoods in Accra, Ghana’, Geoforum, 39(6), 2039-47. ‘“We are managing!” Uncertain paths to respectable adulthoods in Accra, Ghana’ Geoforum 39 2039 47 Google Scholar

Langevang, T. and Gough, K. V. (2009) ‘Surviving through movement: the mobility of urban youth in Ghana’, Social and Cultural Geography, 10(7), 741-56. ‘Surviving through movement: the mobility of urban youth in Ghana’ Social and Cultural Geography 10 741 56 Google Scholar

Logan, J. R., Bian, F. and Bian, Y. (1998) ‘Tradition and change in the urban Chinese family: the case of living arrangements’, Social Forces, 76(3), 851-82. ‘Tradition and change in the urban Chinese family: the case of living arrangements’ Social Forces 76 851 82 Google Scholar

Moser, C. O. N. (1998) ‘The asset vulnerability framework: reassessing urban poverty reduction strategies’, World Development, 26(1), 1-19. ‘The asset vulnerability framework: reassessing urban poverty reduction strategies’ World Development 26 1 19 Google Scholar

Peng, Y. (2009) ‘Modernization theory: from historical misunderstanding to realistic development: a review of a new thesis on modernization’, Chinese Studies in History, 43(1), 37-45. ‘Modernization theory: from historical misunderstanding to realistic development: a review of a new thesis on modernization’ Chinese Studies in History 43 37 45 Google Scholar

Rhoads, E. C. (1984) ‘Reevaluation of the aging and modernization theory: the Samoan evidence’, The Gerontologist, 24(3), 243-50. ‘Reevaluation of the aging and modernization theory: the Samoan evidence’ The Gerontologist 24 243 50 Google Scholar

Rothchild, D. S. (ed.) (1991) Ghana and structural adjustment: an overview. Ghana: in the political economv of recovery, Boulder, CO, L. Rienner Publishers. Ghana and structural adjustment: an overview. Ghana: in the political economv of recovery Google Scholar

Salami, C. G. E. (2013) ‘Youth unemployment in Nigeria: a time for creative intervention’, International Journal of Business and Marketing Management, 1(2), 18-26. ‘Youth unemployment in Nigeria: a time for creative intervention’ International Journal of Business and Marketing Management 1 18 26 Google Scholar

Simon, D., Spengen, W. V., Dixon, C. and Närman, A. (1995) Structurally adjusted Africa: poverty, debt and basic needs, London, Pluto Press. Structurally adjusted Africa: poverty, debt and basic needs Google Scholar

Sinai, I. (1998) ‘Using the home for income-generation: the case of Kumasi, Ghana’, Cities, 15(6), 417-27. ‘Using the home for income-generation: the case of Kumasi, Ghana’ Cities 15 417 27 Google Scholar

Tipple, A. G., Korboe, D. T. and Garrod, G. D. (1997) ‘A comparison of original owners and inheritors in housing supply and extension in Kumasi, Ghana’, Environment and Planning B, 24, 889-902. ‘A comparison of original owners and inheritors in housing supply and extension in Kumasi, Ghana’ Environment and Planning B 24 889 902 Google Scholar

Tonkiss, F. (2005) Space, the city and social theory: social relations and urban forms, Malden, MA, Polity Press. Space, the city and social theory: social relations and urban forms Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Verrest, H. (2007) Home-based economic activities and Caribbean urban livelihoods: vulnerability, ambition and impact in Paramaribo and Port of Spain, Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press. Home-based economic activities and Caribbean urban livelihoods: vulnerability, ambition and impact in Paramaribo and Port of Spain Google Scholar

Wirth, L. (1995) ‘Urbanism as a way of life’ in P. Kasinitz (ed.) Metropolis, New York, NYU Press, 58-84. ‘Urbanism as a way of life’ Metropolis 58 84 Google Scholar

Yeboah, E. A. (2005) ‘Housing the urban poor in twenty-first century sub-Saharan Africa: policy mismatch and a way forward for Ghana’, Geojournal, 62, 147-61. ‘Housing the urban poor in twenty-first century sub-Saharan Africa: policy mismatch and a way forward for Ghana’ Geojournal 62 147 61 Google Scholar

Aboderin, I. (2004a) ‘Decline in material family support for older people in urban Ghana, Africa: understanding processes and causes of change’, The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 59(3), S128-37. ‘Decline in material family support for older people in urban Ghana, Africa: understanding processes and causes of change’ The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 59 S128 37 Google Scholar

Aboderin, I. (2004b) ‘Modernisation and ageing theory revisited: current explanations of recent developing world and historical Western shifts in material family support for older people’, Ageing and Society, 24(01), 29-50. ‘Modernisation and ageing theory revisited: current explanations of recent developing world and historical Western shifts in material family support for older people’ Ageing and Society 24 29 50 Google Scholar

Acheampong, R. A. and Anokye, P. A. (2015) ‘Housing for the urban poor: towards alternative financing strategies for low-income housing development in Ghana’, International Development Planning Review, 37(4), 445-65. ‘Housing for the urban poor: towards alternative financing strategies for low-income housing development in Ghana’ International Development Planning Review 37 445 65 Google Scholar

Acheampong R. A. (2013) ‘Situational analysis of housing in the Greater Kumasi sub-region’ (study prepared for the JIcA Study Team as part of the comprehensive Urban Development Plan for Greater Kumasi Project, doi: 10.13140/RG.2.1.3341.1681), http://www.researchgate.net/publication/279961095 (accessed 10 March 2015). Google Scholar

Anyanwu, J. C. (2013) ‘Characteristics and macroeconomic determinants of youth employment in Africa’, African Development Review, 25(2), 107-29. ‘Characteristics and macroeconomic determinants of youth employment in Africa’ African Development Review 25 107 29 Google Scholar

Arku, G. (2009) ‘Housing policy changes in Ghana in the 1990s’, Housing Studies, 24(2), 261-72. ‘Housing policy changes in Ghana in the 1990s’ Housing Studies 24 261 72 Google Scholar

Beck, U., Bonss, W. and Lau, C. (2003) ‘The theory of reflexive modernization problematic, hypotheses and research programme’, Theory, Culture and Society, 20(2), 1-33. ‘The theory of reflexive modernization problematic, hypotheses and research programme’ Theory, Culture and Society, 20 1 33 Google Scholar

Bengtson, V. L., Burgess, E. O. and Parrott, T. M. (1997) ‘Theory, explanation, and a third generation of theoretical development in social gerontology’, The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 52(2), S72-S88. ‘Theory, explanation, and a third generation of theoretical development in social gerontology’ The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 52 S72 S88 Google Scholar

Bracking, S. (2003) ‘The political economy of chronic poverty’, SSRN 1754446, http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1754446 (accessed 10 March 2015). Google Scholar

Briggs, J. and Yeboah, I. E. (2001) ‘Structural adjustment and the contemporary sub-Saharan African city’, Area, 33(1), 18-26. ‘Structural adjustment and the contemporary sub-Saharan African city’ Area 33 18 26 Google Scholar

Burgess, E. W. (1960) Ageing in Western societies, Chicago, University of Chicago Press. Ageing in Western societies Google Scholar

Castree, N. (2010) ‘Neoliberalism and the biophysical environment 2: theorising the neoliberalisation of nature’, Geography Compass, 4(12), 1734-46. ‘Neoliberalism and the biophysical environment 2: theorising the neoliberalisation of nature’ Geography Compass 4 1734 46 Google Scholar

Clark, G. (1999) ‘Negotiating Asante family survival in Kumasi, Ghana’, Africa, 69(1), 66-86. ‘Negotiating Asante family survival in Kumasi, Ghana’ 69 66 86 Google Scholar

Cowgill, D. O. (1974) ‘Aging and modernization: a revision of the theory’, in J. F. Gubrium (ed.) Late life — Communities and Environmental Policy, Springfield, Charles Thomas, 123-45. ‘Aging and modernization: a revision of the theory’ Late life — Communities and Environmental Policy 123 45 Google Scholar

Cox, D. and Fafchamps, M. (2007) ‘Extended family and kinship networks: economic insights and evolutionary directions’, Handbook of Development Economics, 4, 3711-84. ‘Extended family and kinship networks: economic insights and evolutionary directions’ Handbook of Development Economics 4 3711 84 Google Scholar

Cremer, H., Kessler, D. and Pestieau, P. (1992) ‘Intergenerational transfers within the family’, European Economic Review, 36(1), 1-16. ‘Intergenerational transfers within the family’ European Economic Review 36 1 16 Google Scholar

Devereux, S. (1999) ‘“Making less last longer”: informal safety nets in Malawi’, IDS Discussion Paper 373, Institute of Development Studies, London. ‘“Making less last longer”: informal safety nets in Malawi’ IDS Discussion Paper 373 Google Scholar

Devereux, S. (2001) ‘Livelihood insecurity and social protection: a re-emerging issue in rural development’, Development Policy Review, 19(4), 507-19. ‘Livelihood insecurity and social protection: a re-emerging issue in rural development’ Development Policy Review 19 507 19 Google Scholar

Fangjun, C. (2009) Modernization theory and China’s road to modernization, Chinese Studies in History, 43(1), 7-16. Modernization theory and China’s road to modernization Chinese Studies in History 43 7 16 Google Scholar

Fields, G. S. (2011) ‘Labor market analysis for developing countries’, Labour Economics, 18, S16-22. ‘Labor market analysis for developing countries’ Labour Economics 18 S16 22 Google Scholar

Forrest R. and Murie A. (2013) ‘Housing and family wealth in comparative perspective’, in R. Forrest and A. Murie (eds) Housing and family wealth. London, Routledge. 1-7. ‘Housing and family wealth in comparative perspective’ Housing and family wealth 1 7 Google Scholar

Foster, G. (2000) ‘The capacity of the extended family safety net for orphans in Africa’, Psychology, Health and Medicine, 5(1), 55-62. ‘The capacity of the extended family safety net for orphans in Africa’ Psychology, Health and Medicine 5 55 62 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Gibbon, P. (1993) ‘Social change and economic reform in Africa’, Nordiska Afrikainstitutet (Scandinavian Institute of African Studies). ‘Social change and economic reform in Africa’ Nordiska Afrikainstitutet (Scandinavian Institute of African Studies) Google Scholar

Goode, William J. (1970) World revolution and family patterns, New York, Free Press. World revolution and family patterns Google Scholar

Gough, K. V. and Kellett, P. (2001) ‘Housing consolidation and home-based income generation: evidence from self-help settlements in two colombian cities’, Cities, 18(4), 235-47. ‘Housing consolidation and home-based income generation: evidence from self-help settlements in two colombian cities’ Cities 18 235 47 Google Scholar

Gough, K. V. and Yankson, P. W. K. (2011) ‘A neglected aspect of the housing market. The caretakers of peri-urban Accra, Ghana’, Urban Studies, 48(4), 793-810. ‘A neglected aspect of the housing market. The caretakers of peri-urban Accra, Ghana’ Urban Studies 48 793 810 Google Scholar

Hilson, G. and Potter, C (2005) ‘Structural adjustment and subsistence industry: artisanal gold mining in Ghana’, Development and Change, 36(1), 103-31. ‘Structural adjustment and subsistence industry: artisanal gold mining in Ghana’ Development and Change 36 103 31 Google Scholar

Huan, C. and Mahoney, J. (2002) ‘Equity release mortgages’, Housing Finance International, 16(4), 29-35. ‘Equity release mortgages’ Housing Finance International 16 29 35 Google Scholar

Hubert, F. (2006) ‘The economic theory of housing tenure choice’, in R. J. Arnott and D. P. McMillen (eds) A companion to urban economics, Boston, Blackwell Publishing, 145-58. ‘The economic theory of housing tenure choice’ A companion to urban economics 145 58 Google Scholar

Jiafeng W. (2009) ‘Some reflections on modernization theory and globalization theory’, Chinese Studies in History, 43(1), 72-98. ‘Some reflections on modernization theory and globalization theory’ Chinese Studies in History 43 72 98 Google Scholar

Konadu-Agyemang, K. (2001) ‘Structural adjustment programs and housing affordability in Accra, Ghana’, The Canadian Geographer/Le Géographe canadien, 45(4), 528-44. ‘Structural adjustment programs and housing affordability in Accra, Ghana’ The Canadian Geographer/Le Géographe canadien 45 528 44 Google Scholar

Korboe, D. (1992) ‘Family-houses in Ghanaian cities: to be or not to be?’, Urban Studies, 29(7), 1159-71. ‘Family-houses in Ghanaian cities: to be or not to be?’ Urban Studies 29 1159 71 Google Scholar

Lall S., Navaretti, G. B., Teitel, S. and Wignaraja, G. (1994) Technology and enterprise development: Ghana under structural adjustment, New York, St. Martin’s Press. Technology and enterprise development: Ghana under structural adjustment Google Scholar

Langevang, T. (2008) ‘“We are managing!” Uncertain paths to respectable adulthoods in Accra, Ghana’, Geoforum, 39(6), 2039-47. ‘“We are managing!” Uncertain paths to respectable adulthoods in Accra, Ghana’ Geoforum 39 2039 47 Google Scholar

Langevang, T. and Gough, K. V. (2009) ‘Surviving through movement: the mobility of urban youth in Ghana’, Social and Cultural Geography, 10(7), 741-56. ‘Surviving through movement: the mobility of urban youth in Ghana’ Social and Cultural Geography 10 741 56 Google Scholar

Logan, J. R., Bian, F. and Bian, Y. (1998) ‘Tradition and change in the urban Chinese family: the case of living arrangements’, Social Forces, 76(3), 851-82. ‘Tradition and change in the urban Chinese family: the case of living arrangements’ Social Forces 76 851 82 Google Scholar

Moser, C. O. N. (1998) ‘The asset vulnerability framework: reassessing urban poverty reduction strategies’, World Development, 26(1), 1-19. ‘The asset vulnerability framework: reassessing urban poverty reduction strategies’ World Development 26 1 19 Google Scholar

Peng, Y. (2009) ‘Modernization theory: from historical misunderstanding to realistic development: a review of a new thesis on modernization’, Chinese Studies in History, 43(1), 37-45. ‘Modernization theory: from historical misunderstanding to realistic development: a review of a new thesis on modernization’ Chinese Studies in History 43 37 45 Google Scholar

Rhoads, E. C. (1984) ‘Reevaluation of the aging and modernization theory: the Samoan evidence’, The Gerontologist, 24(3), 243-50. ‘Reevaluation of the aging and modernization theory: the Samoan evidence’ The Gerontologist 24 243 50 Google Scholar

Rothchild, D. S. (ed.) (1991) Ghana and structural adjustment: an overview. Ghana: in the political economv of recovery, Boulder, CO, L. Rienner Publishers. Ghana and structural adjustment: an overview. Ghana: in the political economv of recovery Google Scholar

Salami, C. G. E. (2013) ‘Youth unemployment in Nigeria: a time for creative intervention’, International Journal of Business and Marketing Management, 1(2), 18-26. ‘Youth unemployment in Nigeria: a time for creative intervention’ International Journal of Business and Marketing Management 1 18 26 Google Scholar

Simon, D., Spengen, W. V., Dixon, C. and Närman, A. (1995) Structurally adjusted Africa: poverty, debt and basic needs, London, Pluto Press. Structurally adjusted Africa: poverty, debt and basic needs Google Scholar

Sinai, I. (1998) ‘Using the home for income-generation: the case of Kumasi, Ghana’, Cities, 15(6), 417-27. ‘Using the home for income-generation: the case of Kumasi, Ghana’ Cities 15 417 27 Google Scholar

Tipple, A. G., Korboe, D. T. and Garrod, G. D. (1997) ‘A comparison of original owners and inheritors in housing supply and extension in Kumasi, Ghana’, Environment and Planning B, 24, 889-902. ‘A comparison of original owners and inheritors in housing supply and extension in Kumasi, Ghana’ Environment and Planning B 24 889 902 Google Scholar

Tonkiss, F. (2005) Space, the city and social theory: social relations and urban forms, Malden, MA, Polity Press. Space, the city and social theory: social relations and urban forms Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Verrest, H. (2007) Home-based economic activities and Caribbean urban livelihoods: vulnerability, ambition and impact in Paramaribo and Port of Spain, Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press. Home-based economic activities and Caribbean urban livelihoods: vulnerability, ambition and impact in Paramaribo and Port of Spain Google Scholar

Wirth, L. (1995) ‘Urbanism as a way of life’ in P. Kasinitz (ed.) Metropolis, New York, NYU Press, 58-84. ‘Urbanism as a way of life’ Metropolis 58 84 Google Scholar

Yeboah, E. A. (2005) ‘Housing the urban poor in twenty-first century sub-Saharan Africa: policy mismatch and a way forward for Ghana’, Geojournal, 62, 147-61. ‘Housing the urban poor in twenty-first century sub-Saharan Africa: policy mismatch and a way forward for Ghana’ Geojournal 62 147 61 Google Scholar

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Acheampong, Ransford A.