Barriers to green cities development in developing countries: evidence from Ghana

Caleb Debrah, De Graft Owusu-Manu, Ernest Kissi, Eric Oduro-Ofori, David John Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Of late, cities across the globe are taking pragmatic steps towards addressing environmental, social and economic problems in the debate on sustainable development. Even so, little attention has been paid to studies focused on developing countries. The aim of this study is to examine the barriers to green cities development in developing countries. Design/methodology/approach: A comprehensive literature review was conducted to examine the barriers to green cities development. In terms of methodological choice, a quantitative research strategy was used to collect data from professionals who have lines of influence on the greening of our cities and sustainable urban development. Findings: The barriers to green city development identified were lack of awareness of the benefits of a green city, environmental degradation, insufficient policy implementation efforts, excessive generation of solid waste and poor wastewater collection and treatment. It was indicative from the study findings that taking the right sustainable steps in urban development and a paradigm shift towards the pillars of sustainability, Ghanaian cities, especially Kumasi, have a great proclivity of regaining its longstanding status being “Garden City”. Practical implications: The outcome of this study provides stakeholders in city development an insight into the barriers that inhibit the development of green cities. In practice, this study contributively proposes that the concept of green cities should be incorporated in the education and training of stakeholders to improve the level of awareness. Originality/value: This paper presents the foremost comprehensive study appraising green city development in Ghana.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438-453
Number of pages16
JournalSmart and Sustainable Built Environment
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2022


  • Barriers
  • Ghana
  • Green cities
  • Sustainable cities
  • Sustainable development
  • Urbanisation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Cultural Studies
  • Architecture
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • Urban Studies


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