Date of Award

May 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Urban Studies

First Advisor

Marcus L Britton

Committee Members

Anne Bonds, Rebecca Shumway


Global South, policy, redevelopment, renewal, Slum, Urban Informality


More than a quarter of the world’s population lives in informal settlements which house a rapidly growing proportion of the inhabitants of cities in sub-Saharan Africa, such as Accra, Ghana, and in the Global South more generally. However, scholars have shown that the urban planning and urban redevelopment strategies that affect these settlements are top-down in character with minimal resident participation. These prevailing planning and redevelopment strategies are based on the outsiders’ perceptions of informal neighborhoods, rendering them quite inefficient. Therefore, to develop workable policies and strategies that will improve the living condition of informal urban settlers, it is important to understand the social structure and lived experience of urban informality from the perspectives of residents of such spaces. Such an understanding requires careful attention to the residents’ perceptions of their environment, and their rationales for moving into or remaining in such communities. The qualitative method was favored for this study because it has the potential to highlight residents’ perceptions and rationales to unearth aspects of informal neighborhoods that have been missed by urban planners and local and national public officials.