Urban Regeneration in Coastal Cities: Proposing a Strategy for Revitalising Old and Historic Buildings in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Area, Ghana
While the concept of adaptive reuse is widely prescribed in the existing literature as a panacea for revitalising derelict buildings, there seems to be a knowledge gap on how it could be useful in Ghana’s coastal cities. These cities are characterised by many old and historic buildings constructed during Ghana’s colonial era that are decaying due to continuous neglect. Cities’ transformation through regeneration and adaptive reuse of derelict buildings is yet to become a policy priority in Ghana. The increasing demand for buildings for different uses in Ghana’s twin city, Sekondi-Takoradi makes this research important and timely. This research aims to explore the drivers of derelict old and historic buildings in Sekondi, the older part of the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis and to propose a strategy for utilising those buildings. This is deemed necessary for a city which is striving to ensure that its infrastructure, including buildings, keeps pace with the increasing population, a phenomenon largely induced by the in-migration of people in search of oil-related opportunities. The study is grounded in action research design and will rely on a qualitative approach for empirical analysis. I will use interviews, oral histories, building tours and archival materials to construct histories of the case study vicinities in Sekondi and to understand why buildings are being neglected. Additional interviews with owners/families, planners, city authorities, architects and other relevant stakeholders will be used to determine how neglected buildings could be revitalised and given new functional uses. The research is expected to inform local policy on integrating the regeneration of old and historic derelict buildings in the planning schemes of Sekondi-Takoradi as well as provide data on the attributes and history of buildings since such information is rarely documented. Promoting adaptive reuse of historic buildings will create a myriad of economic opportunities for people, contribute to heritage conservation, inspire a sense of community and a basis for the city to reinvent itself.
“I have been an admirer and a member of the Regional Studies Association since I was a PhD student at Aalborg University, Denmark. I feel extremely honoured to be awarded the Regional Studies Association Membership Research Grant. Indeed, it is a dream come true. Besides its usefulness to lessen the financial burden of doing research, the grant has opened a huge door for me to navigate into the research field of urban regeneration and adaptive reuse. I look forward to having an exciting research process with this grant”.