Integration of biodiversity in urban planning instruments in developing countries: the case of Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, Ghana

There is a growing concern about integrating biodiversity into urban planning, yet, discussions are concentrated on science-informed planning in general. Few have explored the integration of biodiversity in specific planning instruments, especially in African cities. This paper examines how and what components of biodiversity are integrated into master plans, medium-term plans, building codes, zoning codes and permits in Kumasi City, Ghana. There is limited integration of biodiversity in most planning instruments as they were mostly designed on the basis of health, safety and economy. Allied to lack of funding and public participation, biodiversity in Kumasi is under significant threat from rapid urban development. Creating an opportunity for popular participation and decentralizing the planning system could set the preconditions for local integration and revision of instruments. Simplifying the definition of biodiversity could increase local planners’ appreciation, understanding and their ability to make use of biodiversity data.