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Geologising urban political ecology (UPE): the urbanisation of sand in Accea, Ghana and the ante-lives of urban form

Dawson, Katherine (2021) Geologising urban political ecology (UPE): the urbanisation of sand in Accea, Ghana and the ante-lives of urban form. Antipode. ISSN 0066-4812 (In Press)

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Abstract

This paper makes a call for an urban political ecology (UPE) which engages more extensively with Earth’s geological formations. As a material at the centre of global urbanisation process, sand is offered as a geological entry point. The paper presents an analysis of the urbanisation of sand, or the ways in which sand is brought into the urban realm, grounding this reading in Accra – a growing city on Ghana’s Atlantic coast. Drawing from fourteen months of ethnographic fieldwork, the paper charts the socio-natural politics through which sand is first unearthed from the edges of the city – an extractive processes otherwise known as ‘sand winning’ in Ghana. By examining the forms of power which govern uneven revenue flows to communities, the displacement of farming groups, the widespread loss of farmland and a contested regime of governance, the analysis exposes the socio-natural politics through which the city’s geological baseline is first unearthed. Abstract 2: This paper examines issues surrounding sand extraction in Ghana’s growing capital city of Accra. As the extraction of sand reaches unprecedented scales and rates, increasing attention has been placed upon the devastating impacts wrought by this mining practice. Much of this visibility has focused upon extreme cases, including Singapore, China and Dubai. This paper offers a different perspective from a growing West African city, detailing the specific issues that face the urbanising region. In particular, the paper points to the uneven revenues from sand mining flowing to communities, the displacement of farming groups, the widespread loss of farmland and both local and national politics that shape the understanding and impacts of sand mining in Accra. Ultimately, the paper suggests that any attempt to manage sand mining should take account of peri-urban unemployment, local governance and the unequal access to land.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: ?? PHDA ??
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2021 10:45
Last Modified: 25 Feb 2021 00:15
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/108528

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