Old Parks, New Futures: Documenting the Uses of Open Space in an African City

Project status


Old parks are the heart of many African cities. They suffer from poor maintenance, poor services and do not fit with the ambitions of urban planners. This project investigates the history and present-day use of Jackson Park, created in 1935 in Kumasi, Ghana's second largest city. Jackson Park is popular with poorer residents, is free, crowded and a messy counterpoint to the new “pay-for-access” parks being developed across the country. Using the example of Jackson Park, this project will bring together archival and ethnographic approaches to challenge urban planning visions that marginalise the importance of old parks. The research team will document the many uses of Jackson Park, past and present, which will enable them to link sustainable development to the welfare of Ghana's poorer urban citizens.

Research team

Dr Ben Jones, University of East Anglia; Dr George Bob-Milliar, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana; Dr Karen Lauterbach, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

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