'Implementing street addressing system in an evolving urban center. A case study of the Kumasi metropolitan area in Ghana'
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The need for a functional addressing system is increasingly becoming critical for the management of the rapid growing cities in developing countries, especially those in Sub-Saharan Africa, where most cities lack a comprehensive and standardized addressing system. This can be attributed in part to rapid urbanization and increased globalization which has resulted in greater integration of people, cities, companies and regions. Moreover, the advancement in geo-spatial technologies and location-based applications also underscore the need for a standardized addressing system. The lack of efficient and standardized addressing system in such cities hinders urban planning as it impedes the delivery of urban services as well as revenue generation by local government authorities. Against this backdrop, this study explores how to develop and implement an effective street addressing system in an evolving urban center of Kumasi Metropolitan Area in Ghana. Specifically, through interviews of officials of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly and Metropolitan Town and Country Planning Department as well as service providers, the study examined current approaches used in the implementation of the city’s street addressing system. In addition, we conducted a survey of user experiences in the metro area to assess the usefulness of the addressing system for residents in navigating the city. Finally, we developed a prototype GIS-based street address system that goes beyond the existing system of only street names and property numbers and includes a database of land uses, property owners and utilities such as hydrants that can be used for effective management of the urban area, including the management of public service delivery, revenue generation etc. Based on the analysis, we recommend that implementing a standardized addressing system for an evolving urban center should involve the integration of all the various approaches used within the metropolitan area to ensure data interoperability. Moreover, informal settlements and low income suburbs must also be considered as priority areas for future implementation exercises in order to facilitate service delivery. Finally, implementation of street addressing should be accompanied by awareness campaigns to educate residents and institutions on the uses of the addressing system.