Urban livelihoods and the use of public space: street trading in Kumasi City, Ghana

Bettie Solomon-Ayeh, Building and Road Research Institute

Urban public spaces are livelihood assets for the urban poor in developing countries like Ghana. Street trading is the means whereby the urban poor utilize urban public space to make a living and this results in conflicts between the street traders and the city authorities. This research investigates urban livelihoods of street traders in Kumasi and reveals that there are no planned places for them and they are located in spaces meant for other uses. This implies that, unless there is a conscious effort to allocate some public space to manage street trading in a decent manner, street traders will continue to evade public space to the embarrassment of city authorities. Recommendations are that, street trading should not be treated as an ‘after-thought’, but rather, the inter-relationships between street trading and the use of public space to sustain urban livelihoods be understood and the spatial implications addressed in urban planning.

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Presented in Session 69: Urban livelihoods