|dc.description.abstract||This research analyses the effects of land tenure security on the low-income people and squatters of Accra (the Ghanaian capital). The problem of squatting in Accra has been attributed to deficits in housing supply and the high rents of decent accommodation which have left the poor with little or no choice but to squat illegally on private or public property. Due to the failure of previous policies to solve the housing problems of the squatters in the capital, this study was conceived to verify the effects of land tenure security and assess the merits of tenure security as an alternative approach to enable low-income residents of the city to improve their housing. Additionally, the research was prompted by the desire to stem the fast pace of squatting in the city and eradicate the deplorable conditions in which most of the squatters live. Furthermore, it is anticipated that important lessons learned from the study settlements and within specific contexts will be able to be applied to help solve the housing and environmental problems of poor people elsewhere.
To achieve these goals, the present research first investigated the veracity of the assertions made in the literature concerning the effects of land tenure security to determine if they were compelling with regard to the Accra context. Additionally, the research sought to verify whether the positive effects of land tenure security could be harnessed for the benefit of squatters in Accra. Even though tenure security may not be the only condition needed to improve the housing situation of the low-income people of Accra, it can nevertheless be argued that observable improvements and transformations in living conditions have occurred among low-income urbanites that have some sort of tenure security. Land tenure arrangements which notably increase tenure security include group tenure arrangements, administrative and social acknowledgement of rights to land, and provisional licenses issued to people by the district assemblies to do business in some open spaces. In response, the present research was driven by the central question: to what extent is there a relationship between tenure security and access to housing, and improved living and environmental conditions?
Land tenure pluralism and the subjective nature of perceptions about land tenure security in Accra led to the choice and comparison of three communities that represented different points along a continuum of land tenure security. The chosen study settlements have varying degrees of tenure security. One has a formal type of land tenure arrangement and security, another a customary arrangement and de facto security, and finally, a settlement in which the residents do not have any rights to the land they occupy. The complexity of the research problem necessitated the adoption of a mixed method research design in order to draw on relevant information, research tools and techniques for the investigation, data collection, analysis, and presentation of the research results. The study revealed that while tenure security alone is indeed not adequate for improvements of squatter settlements in Accra, it does serve as one of the key factors for low-income Accra residents‘ access to housing, improved living and environmental conditions. Other factors such as housing finance, provision of infrastructure, adequate planning, and relaxation of building codes and regulations have been identified as significantly affecting low-income people‘s access to housing, improved livelihoods and environmental conditions in Accra. Thus this research can be endorsed as an important contribution to knowledge that can guide policy to improve the lives of low-income people in Accra and beyond.||