Gentrification, use conversion and traditional architecture in Kumasi's central business district – case study of Odum Precinct

  • KK Adarkwa Department of Planning, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Kumasi, Ghana
  • RA Oppong Department of Architecture, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Kumasi, Ghana


The process of gentrification unfolding in parts of Kumasi's Central Business District (CBD) is captured in this paper to facilitate an understanding of the change process at work; namely, the invasion and succession of old run-down traditional residential buildings by high rent yielding commercial developments.The study reveals that the process at work bears semblance with similar processes documented elsewhere in literature. Nonetheless, there are subtle differences. For example, the gentrifiers are not in the middle income category. Instead, they are in the low income category and perceive the process as a way of attracting investments to develop their properties without relinquishing their rights for posterity. The process also involves complete construction of new structures rather than refurbishment, remodelling or renovation. The location of displaced residents affected by the process is varied but is primarily dependent on income and average rents prevailing in various parts of the city. The link between gentrification and traditional architecture is also explored but the impact of the latter on the former is seen largely as being negative although streetscapes have been enhanced and skylines improved to reflect a more productive use of prime land. Consequently, the study has established a close link between gentrification, use conversion and the traditional architecture of the study area. It is argued that an understanding of the gentrification process in the study area is basic to a more efficient management of the change process at play in the CBD of Kumasi. To facilitate this, the extent of invasion and succession of residential uses by commercial interests in the CBD needs to be ascertained.

Journal of Science and Technology Vol. 25(2) 2005: 80-90

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eISSN: 0855-0395