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Informal Networks and Access to Power to Obtain Housing in Urban Slums in Ghana

Jeffrey W. Paller
Africa Today
Vol. 62, No. 1, Special Issue: The Politics of the Nonstate Provision of Public Goods in Africa (Fall 2015), pp. 31-55
Published by: Indiana University Press
DOI: 10.2979/africatoday.62.1.31
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/africatoday.62.1.31
Page Count: 26
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Informal Networks and Access to Power to Obtain Housing in Urban Slums in Ghana
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Abstract

Scholarship that examines obtaining housing in urban Ghana focuses on the role of state planning or access to financial markets, yet most housing in Ghana is provided outside these official channels, often in urban slums, where residents turn to nonstate providers (NSPs) to find housing. NSPs are local social networks led by political entrepreneurs motivated by informal norms and incentives, which shape the quality of housing and security of tenure. Their logic is best represented by treating the governance of housing as a collective action problem. This article introduces a typology of slums based on settlement patterns, including extralegal, indigenous, and purchased settlements. Ethnographic research and survey data illustrate the governance of housing across these types of Ghanaian informal settlements.

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