Self-organisation in urban spatial planning: evidence from the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area, Ghana

Abraham Marshall Nunbogu, Prosper Issahaku Korah

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There is growing interest among spatial planners to see spontaneous civic initiatives supporting urban development. The occurrence of self-organisation in two informal settlements in Greater Accra Metropolitan Area, Ghana is considered. The system theories of self-organisation (dissipative structures, synegertics and autopoietic) and actor-network theory were used to analyse the two cases. The findings indicate that actors in these informal settlements are triggered by certain contextual factors to undertake initiatives for their own survival and sustenance. At the regional level, these settlements jointly form patterns relating to self-organisation. We conclude that since self-organisation is context specific, planning rules should be reconstructed to guide actions of the various actors in the urban system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-441
Number of pages19
JournalUrban Research & Practice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • self-organisation
  • informal settlements
  • spatial planning
  • Greater Accra Metropolitan Area
  • community networks
  • civil society
  • CITY

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