AILING CITIES: Debate over remedies and “fixing” responsibilities

AILING CITIES: Debate over remedies and “fixing” responsibilities

The inadequacy of essential infrastructure coupled with the youth unemployment in Ghana has led to the emergence of different schools of thought on remedial measures. The result is that proponents of  “Fix the Country”, “Fix your Mindset”, “Fix your Attitude”, “Fix the Economy” and “Fix Political Leadership” are vehemently defending their positions while others are frankly unconcerned about the public utterances and innumerable insults because they are busy fixing their pockets to survive the perceived hardship.

The raging debate over who should bear responsibility for the many ills of the nation and how these problems can be solved is evident that some level of fixing is required to make Ghana truly the gateway to West Africa. Some citizens undoubtedly need reorientation to appreciate the nature of the demands being made presently,  by the poor and needy for a thriving economy. Though I am optimistic about a brighter future for the next generation, sometimes I fear for the worst. There is a need to find lasting solutions urgently devoid of the usual “political football” on national issues.

Let me borrow the words of the Nigerian Star Teni in her song titled “Hustle”, by saying:  “I wan talk my mind o, for anyone wey fit relate o”. I am particularly worried about the spatial chaos in cities and the dislike for sustainable and resilient infrastructure. My demands and wishes are many but  key amongst them are making the railway sector vibrant, prioritizing the needs of persons with disability in housing projects, addressing sea level rise and the threat of climate change, finding reliable solutions to perennial flooding, overhauling prison infrastructure, tackling the proliferation of slums, resolving “dumsor” with use of natural light, saving the vegetative cover of cities, enforcing planning laws and involving built environment institutions in key national development policies and implementation.

The fate of Ghana’s cities must be of concern to all citizens and political leaders need to start implementing policies for developing resilient and sustainable cities. A glimmer of hope has been sparked by the activities of  “Let’s Make Accra Work” campaign. It is my hope that every Ghanaian, home and abroad will support the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Mr. Henry Quartey and his team to succeed. I am looking forward to a new Accra emerging beautifully and in the right order. I have seen videos and pictures of some stakeholder engagements which is a good start and a good example for other cities to emulate. It would be a laudable idea for the Minister to bring on board the Ghana Institute of Planners, Ghana Institute of Architects, Ghana Institution of Engineering , the Ghana Institution of Surveying and the other built environment professionals to help sustain all efforts and remedies put in place so far.

Finally, I am a “sad boy” and like Kwaku Frimpong, I present my First Sermon, “Ailing Cities: History Assessment and Remedy for Urbanization in Ghana”, published by ORO Editions. “Ailing Cities” is written largely to educate and facilitate a dialogue with people of all backgrounds on environmental sustainability, architecture, city planning, and design. It has been necessitated by urban ills in sub-Saharan Africa. It addresses relevant topics essential to give the reader an understanding of how community members can bring lasting changes to their communities. I invite you to purchase a copy for an enjoyable read.

May Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s Legacy live on, and may “Ghana Beyond Aid” become a reality.  May God’s glory cover and protect our cities and make our cities a place of refuge.

God Bless Ghana My motherland!!!

The writer is an architect and urban planner. [email protected]

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