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Attributable indicators for measuring the level of greenness of cities in developing countries: lessons from Ghana

De-Graft Owusu-Manu (Department of Construction Technology and Management, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana)
Caleb Debrah (Department of Construction Technology and Management, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana)
Eric Oduro-Ofori (Department of Planning, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana)
David John Edwards (School of Engineering and the Built Environment, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, UK and Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, University of Johannesburg, Doornfontein, South Africa)
Prince Antwi-Afari (Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR, China)

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology

ISSN: 1726-0531

Article publication date: 7 September 2020

Issue publication date: 7 June 2021

371

Abstract

Purpose

The advances in green city growth are widely discussed in extant literature. The benefits of green cities to urban development in recent discussions of sustainability and sustainable development are well documented and cannot be overemphasised. Although a growing study on green building development in developing countries has been advanced in literature, there is a paucity of studies that explore green cities in developing countries. Moreover, evidence of studies that have focussed on green cities development in Ghana is lacking. Because of this identified knowledge gap, the purpose of this study is to establish the indicators/attributes for measuring the level of greenness of cities in developing countries.

Design/methodology/approach

A comprehensive literature review was conducted to identify the indicators/attributes for measuring the level of greenness of cities in developing countries. This study has adopted the pragmatism as its undergirding research philosophy and the deductive research approach. In terms of methodological choice, quantitative research strategy was used to collect data from experts in sustainable urban development. The primary data retrieved from this study was analysed using descriptive statistics, relative importance index and one-sample t-test. The reliability and validity of this study were measured with the Cronbach’s alpha test.

Findings

This study established eight indicators for measuring green city development: air quality, water, sanitation, land use, health and safety, transportation, energy and building and construction. It was discovered that the development of green cities should enhance air quality, improve water production and supply, improve management in sanitation, promote mixed and integrative land use, maintain the health and safety of city dwellers, reduce the demand for transportation and formalise public transport, adopt renewable and efficient energy technologies and promote sustainable construction and green buildings. These indicators are key to policymaking and implementation of green cities development.

Research limitations/implications

This study focusses primarily on Ghana; however, the findings of this study do not limit the generalisability, as it can be used as an example for other developing countries.

Practical implications

Theoretically, this study adopted quantitative indicators that are reproducible in another geographical context. This study contributively adds to the discourse on sustainability, especially in Ghana, and can be a source of reference to motivate others to conduct further research in related areas. The outcomes of this study will help the local government, policymakers, city stakeholders and industry expertise to gain insights of the overall indicators that underpin green city development.

Originality/value

This paper attempts to posit in literature the foremost appraisal of green city indicators adaptive in Ghana, which could motivate other developing countries to develop their own green cities.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Conflicts of interests: The authors declare no conflicts of interest. The funders had no role in the design of this study; in the data collection, analysis, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript; or in the decision to publish the results.

This paper forms part of a large MSc research project aimed at developing an apposite framework for green cities development in developing countries. The authors gratefully acknowledge the Ghana Education Trust Fund for funding this research. The authors also appreciatively acknowledge the Department of Construction Technology and Management, KNUST, for supporting this research. Special appreciations also go to the editors and reviewers whose constructive and invaluable comments and propositions played a pivotal role in noticeably improving the quality of the work.

Citation

Owusu-Manu, D.-G., Debrah, C., Oduro-Ofori, E., Edwards, D.J. and Antwi-Afari, P. (2021), "Attributable indicators for measuring the level of greenness of cities in developing countries: lessons from Ghana", Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, Vol. 19 No. 3, pp. 625-646. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEDT-06-2020-0257

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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