Urban and strategies that regulates rural and urban planning

Urban and Rural planning has become an
important national strategy for improving lives in both developed and
developing countries in the world. Ghana not being an exception has also tried
to adopt a lot of strategy through guidelines, Acts and procedures to help
improve lives in both rural and urban communities in the country.

Before and after independence in 1957,
Ghana has initiated a lot of law, instruments, policies and strategies to help
provide an efficient planning system for both rural and urban areas. Here are
some laws, policies and strategies that regulates rural and urban planning in

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( ACT 925)

This Act seeks to revise and consolidate
the laws on land use and spatial planning, provide for sustainable development
of land and human settlements through a decentralized planning system, ensure
judicious use of land to improve quality of life, promote health and safety in
respect of human settlements and to regulate national, regional, district and
spatial planning, and generally to provide for spatial aspects of socio
economic development and for related matters.

This Act further strengthens the
institutional capacity of the TCPD ( Town and Country Planning Authority) and
transform it from a technical advisory body into a proactive regulatory
institution that will play a significant role in ensuring conformity and
compliance with spatial plans, zoning regulations and planning standards at the
national, regional and district levels. (http://www.ghana.gov.gh/index.php/media-center/news/2963-parliament-empowers-tcpd-as-it-passes-land-use-and-spatial-bill)

ACT 480 )

This Act provides for a national
development planning system, define and regulate planning procedure and provide
for related matters. The act recognizes the National Development planning
Commission as established by The National Development Planning Commission Act,
1994 (Act 479) as the coordinating body of the decentralized National
development planning system of the country. The decentralised national
development planning system comprise the District Planning Authorities at the
district level, Regional Co-ordinating Councils at the regional level and
sector agencies, Ministries and the Commission at the national level.


This Act establishes and regulate the
local government system in accordance with the Constitution and to provide for
related matters. Section 46 of this Act declares the district assembly as the planning
authority for its area of authority. The Act further created a unit within the
district Assembly called the district planning co-ordinating unit which would
be in charge of planning in the area. However, the district development plan as
prepared by the Assembly is subject to the approval of the National Development
planning commission through the Regional co-ordinating council.

 Any development plan prepared by the district
planning authority shall seek the approval of the National Development planning
commission before its implementation.



This guideline seeks to streamline the
use and management of land in a sustainable manner. It proposes a three tier
planning system namely the preparation of Spatial Development Frameworks (SDF),
Structure Plans (SP) and Local Plans (LP). The planning system establishes a
direct connection between national development strategies and the spatial realization
of these strategies through a chain of conformity of plans. The model
recognizes that plans so often fail in their realization because key
stakeholders are not adequately involved in the plan preparation process. The
model, therefore, proposes and places greater emphasis on the involvement of
stakeholders, whether individual plot holders, large scale landlords,
traditional rulers, real estate developers, or institutions in the planning
process. They are intended to guide the planning activities of District
Assemblies, Consultants, Developers, the Academia, the Planning Authority etc.
in plan preparation


This planning Act provides for the
orderly and progressive development of land, towns and other areas, to preserve
and improve their amenities and for related matters. This Act empowers the Minister
to be the authority for town and country planning. It further allows the
minister to delegate any of the functions concerning town and country planning
to any other person he wishes.

National Development Policy Framework










How Germany employs this

Unlike Ghana where there is a single
comprehensive document which establishes and regulate all the planning policy
and strategies in the country, there is no comprehensive spatial plan existing
at the national level in Germany, but there is the specific case of spatial
plans for the exclusive maritime economic zone, which are within the
responsibility of the Federal government. At the subnational level, common
types of plans exist in all federal states, but they might differ in important
details from each other. States prepare State Spatial Development Plans that
formulate the spatial goals and strategies for the state. (OECD,


Spatial development in Germany is guided
by models and guidelines which have been devised jointly by the Federal Government
and the Länder. Thus “Guidelines for Regional Planning”
(Raumordnungspolitischer Orientierungs- rahmen) and the “Framework of Action
for Regional Planning” (Raumord- nungspolitischer Handlungsrahmen) . With these
above-mentioned guidelines, Länder and regional planning put these models and
concepts into concrete terms for their respective areas, the municipalities
finally implement them in legally binding plans. Spatial planning in Germany is
therefore shaped by diverse integration and co-ordination processes between the
spatial planning levels of the Federal Government, the Länder, the regions and
the municipalities.(Federal
Office for Building and Regional Planning, 2001).

                          (Pahl-Weber & Henckel, 2008)

The distribution of the capabilities and
functions between the three organs produces the system with legally,
organisationally, and substantively differentiated planning levels. They are
also interlinked by the mutual feedback principle as well as complex requirements
of notification, participation, coordination and compliance. Federal spatial
planning is limited essentially to the development of guiding principles and, principles
of spatial planning which also provide the legal basis for state spatial
planning and superordinate specifications for sectoral planning. State spatial
planning gives concrete form at the state level to the federal principles of
spatial planning, while at the local level, final planning goals are developed
in compliance with both federal and state spatial planning specifications. (Pahl-Weber
& Henckel, 2008)

This system somehow is not different
from that of Ghana where there is an interlink between the National Development
planning Commission, the regional coordinating council and the various (Metropolitan,Municipal
and District Assemblies MMDAs). The decentralised national development
planning system which comprises of the District planning Authorities at the
district level, Regional Co–ordinating Councils at the regional level and
Sector agencies, Ministries and the Commission at the national level as stated
by the National Development Planning Act ( Act 480) are empowered to take
charge of planning of all kinds within their areas of jurisdiction but the NDPC
mandated to exercise a supervisory role to ensure that local level development
plans reflect broader national development goals(Owusu, 2004.)



The potential benefits of local
information and human resources cannot be realised and local development
accelerated if the people at the grassroots are not made active participants in
the shaping of decisions that affect them (Ayee, 2002). The planning paradigm
therefore seeks to consider community participation, involvement of interest
groups, horizontal and vertical coordination, sustainability, financial
feasibility and interaction of physical and economic planning (Widianingsih,

The planning system in Germany therefore
actively involves the citizens with whom the whole planning scheme is going to
be affected. The initiation of planning schemes such as village renewal and
land consolidation usually start from the collection of ideas from the
citizens. For the people to
participate competently they need to know the planning events and methods which
lead to a decision being made. The Schools of Village and Rural Development equips
the people with the basic knowledge needed to carry out the particular project.
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, 2006).

After a decade of decentralized planning
in Ghana, there seem to be little to show for the involvement of the local
people in development planning, this is evidenced by the abandonment of
completed District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) projects in several communities
in protest by community members against their suitability.(Zakari,











The following are some major land
management challenges facing Ghana;

Land Services.

The expensiveness of getting services
from the various land delivery institutions in the country has affected the
management system in Ghana. One would have to spend a lot of money before
getting access to services such as Building permit, Development permit, Land
registration etc. The total amount people usually spend in getting some of
these services is not only related to official fees charged but also unofficial
charges in the form of bribe paid by clients in order to get their services. This
therefore defeats the pro poor land administration system every country aspire
to achieve. 

and Non payment of Compensation to land owners

Though there are a lot of legislations
and Acts which complement the main constitution of the Republic of Ghana
providing a legal process for compulsorily acquiring land and also ensuring a
prompt payment of fair and adequate compensation for the expropriated person,
there is still the issue of delays and sometimes no payment of compensation to  expropriated persons. Landowners are therefore
left almost landless, denied their source of livelihood and usually become
tenants on their own lands, giving rise to poverty and disputes between the state
and the stools. as well as within the private land sector.(Ministry
of Lands and Forestry, 1999)

Management of Land Information System(LIS)

Unlike most developed countries,
developing countries of which Ghana is not an exception have a huge challenge
with how to manage a responsive land information systems (LIS), which basically
involves land information harnessing through, data gathering, processing,
storage and dissemination.(Adiaba,
2014). This therefore affect the whole system of land
administration of Ghana. The problem of poor record management, delays in
service delivery among other can all be resolved if there is a proper
management of Land Information System.

Indiscipline in the Land Market

This is characterised by land
encroachments, multiple land sales, use of unapproved development schemes,
haphazard development, indeterminate boundaries of customary-owned, resulting
from lack of reliable maps and plans, compulsory acquisition by government of
large tracts of land without utilizing.(Ministry
of Lands and Forestry, 1999)

Critically evaluate the scope of land management in
your home country and its chances to implement for rural and urban
development. (max.3 pages).

The different types of land tenure and
the land administration prevailing in Ghana today evolved over-time from the
interplay of socio-political organization of various ethnic groups, clans and
families through trade, wars and incorporation. As a result, customary and
state laws play an important role in the management and administration of lands
in Ghana.(Fiadzigbey,

Ghana operates a legal pluralistic land
tenure system, with customary and statutory law coexisting and interacting with
each other (Lupembe,
2012). This is because the customary land holders own
80%(including vested lands) of the total land in Ghana and the remaining being
state land (Ehwi
& Asante, 2016). The categories of the customary
holding groups include the various stool, skin, clan and familys . 

Article 267 of the 1992 constitution of
Ghana vest all stool lands
in Ghana in the appropriate stool on behalf of, and in trust for the subjects
of the stool in accordance with customary law and usage. The management of customarily owned
lands has therefore been the preserve of these traditional political
institutions with the state having an oversight regulatory responsibility (Issifu,
2015). The leaders of the various stool are guided by the
following customary tenets in in the management of the land:

is inter-generational

is held in trust by the head of the community for the entire members of the
community, clan or family in the belief that land is owned by the dead, living
and those yet unborn.

title to the land resides in the community, clan or family and it is non
of Lands and Forestry, 2003)

As part of the process of
ensuring a justifiable management system in the customary lands, The Article
267(2) of the constitution establishes the Office of the Administration of
stool lands which mandate is to create a stool land account for each stool into
which shall be paid all rents, dues, royalties, revenues or other payments
whether in the nature of income or capital from the stool lands. This is to
provide a mechanism, which would ensure equitable enjoyment of the benefits
accruing from stool land resources by the entire subjects of stools.

In addition to the above
stated provisions and laws guiding the management and administration of stool
lands in Ghana, there is also the Customary Land Secretariats (CLS)  established by local landowning communities with
the support from central government under the supports of the Land
Administration Project ( LAP ) to improve land management and administration at
the local level. The
secretariat serves as an interface between the land owning communities and the
public land sector agencies. It also in addition provide land administrative
services to holders and seekers of customary land rights, working under the
direct authority of traditional authority (Ministry
of Land and Natural Resorces, 2011). The idea of this secretariat is to provide
land administrative services for holders and seekers of customary land rights
working under the direct authority of traditional authorities. Its also seeks to
clarify land rights and ownership especially for the vulnerable, in areas where
gender disparity is high. (https://www.graphic.com.gh/features/opinion/customary-land-secretariats-evolution-and-prospects.html)


Article 257(1&2) of the
1992 constitution of Ghana also describes Public land as any land which,
immediately before the coming into force of the Constitution, was vested in the
Government of Ghana on behalf of, and in trust for, the people of Ghana for the
public service of Ghana, and any other land acquired in the public interest.
The constitution further clearly empowers the president to hold the all public
land on behalf of, and in trust for, the people of Ghana. The president holding
the land on behalf of the citizens as stated in the constitution administers
his management responsibilities through certain state institutions.

2009) basically categories the various land management
institutions in the country        as the
BIG 6. Thus; The Lands Commission, Land Title Registrars, Office of the
Administrator of Stool Lands, Town and Country Planning Department as well
District Land Officers. However after the implementation of the Lands
Commission Act in 2008, some of these land management institutions were merged
thereby reducing the Big 6 as categorized by Kombat to four(4). Namely; The
Lands Commission, the office of the administration of stool lands and the Town
and Country Planning Department.

The lands Commission as established
under the Lands Commission Act 2008 ( Act 763) is mandated to manage public and
any lands vested in the President by the Constitution or by any other law and
also advise the Government, local authorities and traditional authorities on
the policy framework for the development of particular areas of Ghana to ensure
that the development of individual pieces of land is co-ordinated with the
relevant development plan for the area concerned.

Some other major management service
provided by the Lands Commission as indicated by the Act 763 includes; registration
of deeds, title to land and other interests in land and also maintaining land
registers that contains records of land and other interests in land.

Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority

The Land Use and Spacial Planning
Authority formerly called the Town and Country Planning Department (TCPD) is charged
with the responsibility of planning and management of growth and development of
cities, towns and villages in the country. This authority seeks to promote
sustainable human settlements development based on principles of efficiency,
orderliness, safety and healthy growth of communities. The functions of this
authority amongs others include  Local
government Act


The Metropolitan/Municipal/District Assemblies



Though there are a lot of structures and
policies which seeks to guide the management of lands in Ghana, there is a need
for the land management agencies to implement measures towards the enhancement
of rural and Urban development. Almost all the Land Management Institution in
Ghana has tried to put up measures which seeks to ensure Rural and Urban
development in the country.

Customary Land Secretariat

This secretariat established under the
Land Administration project in Ghana performs a lot of functions which all seek
to improve rural and urban development in ghana. some of the functions of the

keeping and Provision of land information with regard ownership, right, use,
etc. to the public.

with Plot Allocation and Town Development Committees to ensure that development
conforms to planning schemes/layouts or as agreed by the Community at the local
level. (Issifu,

The Lands Commission

The Lands Commission of
Ghana is one major Land Management Institution in the country of whose main functions
includes the provision of Land Information services, Tenure security and
registering of Title or Deeds to lands. The Commission as a way of promoting
rural and urban development has introduced a lot of strategies and measures
which seeks to provide efficient and effective services to the populates.
Famous among these is the Client Service Access Unit ( CSAU) which was
introduced through the LAP in 2015. The unit serves as a One Stop-Shop that
provides the general public with a single point of entry for all Lands
Commission services. This unit has help to decrease most of the initial
challenges such as; administrative bottlenecks, public frustrations and corruption
faced by the Lands Commission. The CSAU has also help to improve public
awareness about the process of title registration

Town and Country Planning

The Land Use Planning and
Management Project (LUPMP) in Ghana is a three year initiative (2007-2010). It
is an integral part of the broader Land Administration Project (LAP) which has
been implemented by the Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Mines since 2003. LUPMP
is funded by the Government of Ghana and the Nordic Development Fund.


The project’s overall
objective is to develop a coherent, streamlined and sustainable land use
planning and management system which is decentralised and based on consultative
and participatory approaches in order to manage effectively human settlements
development. LUPMP is, effectively, an ambitious attempt to reform and update
Ghana’s land use planning and management system. The project’s immediate
counterpart is the Town and Country Planning Department, which is a key agency
of the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment with the
mandate for the planning and management of human settlements – cities, towns
and villages – in Ghana.


The project is proceeding by
way of four activity clusters:


1.      Development and testing of pilot
decentralised land use models in selected high priority areas

2.      Policy studies and the reform of the
legal and institutional framework for land use planning and management

3.      Implementation of an information system
for land use planning and management

4.      Pilot plan making and the implementation
of plans at regional, district and local levels.









J.R.A. and Amponsah N. (2003) ‘The District Assemblies and Local Governance:
Reflections on the 2002 Local Elections’, in Nicholas A. and Kwame B-A. (eds)
Local Government in Ghana: Grassroots participation in the 2002 local
Government Election, pp. 49-94. Accra: Uniflow publishing Ltd.

Widianingsih I. (2005) ‘Local
Governance, Decentralization and Participatory Planning in Indonesia: Seeking a
new path to a harmonious society’, paper presented at the annual conference of
the Network of Asia-Pacific Schools and Institutes of Public Administration and
Governance (NAPSIPAG), Beijing, PRC (5-7 December).