Quantifying the spatio-temporal patterns of settlement growth in a metropolitan region of Ghana

Ransford A. Acheampong*, Felix S.K. Agyemang, Mohammed Abdul-Fatawu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Retrospective understanding of the magnitude and pace of urban expansion is necessary for effective growth management in metropolitan regions. The objective of this paper is to quantify the spatial–temporal patterns of urban expansion in the Greater Kumasi Sub-Region (GKSR)—a functional region comprising eight administrative districts in Ghana, West Africa. The analysis is based on Landsat remote sensing images from 1986, 2001 and 2014 which were classified using supervised maximum likelihood algorithm in ERDAS IMAGINE. We computed three complementary growth indexes namely; Average Annual Urban Expansion Rate, Urban Expansion Intensity Index (UEII) and Urban Expansion Differentiation Index to estimate the amount and intensity of expansion over the 28-year period. Overall, urban expansion in the GKSR has been occurring at an average annual rate of 5.6 %. Consequently, the sub-region’s built-up land increased by 313 km2 from 88 km2 in 1986 to 400 km2 in 2014. The analysis further show that about 72 % of the total built-up land increase occurred in the last 13 years alone, with UEII value of 0.605 indicating a moderate intensity of urban expansion. Moreover, the metropolitan-core of the sub-region, being the focal point of urban development and the historical origins of expansion, accounted for more than half of the total built-up land increase over the 28-year period. Over the last decade and half however, urban expansion has spilled into the neighbouring peripheral districts, with the highest intensity and fastest rate of expansion occurring in districts located north and north east of the sub-regional core. We recommend a comprehensive regional growth management strategy grounded in effective strategic partnerships among the respective administrative districts to curb unsustainable urban expansion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)823-840
Number of pages18
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017


  • Ghana
  • GIS
  • Greater-Kumasi
  • Landsat
  • Spatio-temporal change
  • Urban expansion
  • Urbanization


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