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Report, 2019

Transforming urban idle spaces into green, productive and aesthetic landscapes

Yawson, David O.; Adu, Michael O.; Asare, Paul A.; Armah, Frederick A.


There are several idle lots and spaces in cities and towns in Ghana due to poor land use and physical planning as well as pressure for privately-built, low density residential houses. This project tested the idea of using idle, unmanaged urban spaces in Cape Coast to produce multiple ecosystem services in the context of multifunctional land use: food, landscape beautification, income, and environmental protection.

Two sites which were bushy and seemingly used for nefarious activities were transformed into greenhouse vegetable production. The greenhouse project generated short term jobs for eight young people of equal gender distribution, and one additional person produced vegetables on a portion of vacant, backyard residential lot in an urban residential area. Premium quality tomatoes were harvested from the greenhouse production, while garden eggs and pepper were harvested from the outdoor production. Production outputs were either sold to nearby eateries and residents, or used by the project members as subsistence. The landscaped spaces around the greenhouses attracted families nearby to bring their children to play in the area while curiously learning about the crop production in the greenhouse. Thus, the project provided greenspace and opportunity for active living and learning for children and families in their neighbourhood on a lot that was previously unused and inaccessible. The project was also visited by the AgriCorps team (USA) who found it promising and worthy of up- and out-scaling.

A highly successful dissemination event brought together stakeholders (local farmers, representatives from the vegetable group of market women association of Cape Coast, Regional and Metropolitan Agricultural Offices, media, academia, local chiefs and opinion leaders, and the general public) who were very impressed by the project. Some were even motivated to start their own production on idle spaces around their homes. The media also showed large interest for the project. Key lessons learned include (i) the need to formalize access to and use of vacant, idle, unmanaged urban spaces for such multifunctional land use purposes, (ii) accurate timing of first production cycle for the dry season to fetch premium price for the produce, (iii) establishing stable markets for the produce, trialling and using different crops to understand what works best and to reduce risks, and (iv) continuous engagement of stakeholders to sustain interest in the projects. Overall, edible urban landscapes could provide food, jobs, beautiful landscapes, environmental protection, and greenspace for active living in cities and towns.


Ghana; land use

Published in

AgriFoSe2030 Report
2019, number: 19
eISBN: 978-91-576-9691-5
Publisher: SLU Global, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Authors' information

Yawson, David O.
University of Cape Coast
Adu, Michael O.
University of Cape Coast
Asare, Paul A.
University of Cape Coast
Armah, Frederick A.
University of Cape Coast

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

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