Volume 12, Issue 2, 2020


Authors: John E. K. AKUBIA, Paul W. K. YANKSON

HOW TO CLASSIFY THE URBAN AREA? A PERSPECTIVE OF MULTI-CRITERIA APPROACH IN THE CONTEXT OF HYPER-DIVERSITY IN SETTLEMENTS IN GHANA

Ghana is experiencing high population growth, rapid urbanization and a constantly accelerating growth of urban areas. Yet, the accurate delineation of urban settlements remains a major challenge faced by urban planners. While the emergent urban settlements are being characterized by highly-diverse, heterogeneous, and multiplicity of features, the need to rethink how best to classify new urban growth areas, beyond the commonly used population threshold of 5000 inhabitants, is becoming increasingly inadequate. Thus, this paper proposes a multi-criteria approach, drawing on the concept of ‘hyper-diversity’. Eight key dimensions – urban form, built-up extent, socio-economic functions, land-use dynamics, occupational structure, and governance structure and population size – were identified as a guide to the delineation of new urban settlements. Inferring these dimensions requires accurate spatial and statistical data on the prevailing land-use dynamics. Thus, the paper argues that analysing satellite-based remote sensing and ground truth-gathered data may provide standardized and timely information on the aforementioned dimensions. Applying this multi-dimensional approach may be useful for Ghana and similar countries where there is a lack of regular mapping of urban areas.

https://doi.org/10.37043/JURA.2020.12.2.4

 

Key words: urban classification, population size, hyper-diversity, satellite-based remote sensing, Ghana.