urban-rural linkages in the peri-urban
Kumasi already shows many active urban-rural linkages & inter-dependencies, in food, labour, services: however many of these are exploitative and disruptive. The peri-urban adds another dimension to that mix: the ‘PURL’ aims to maximize opportunities and minimize negative impacts on each kind of territory. Decentralized services, distributed eco-infrastructure, autonomous governance, each combine with agro-ecology, landscape resilience & climate adaptation, circular economy.
heat / drought / fire / flood adaptation :
Short term: arid zone water management in buildings and land: fire defence via forest breaks and natural fire cycle management. Longer term: rethinking where are the settlements, what kind of forms & surroundings, how can low impact eco-design manage a transformation towards a drought / fire-friendly co-existence. For extreme heat, a growing agenda for building eco-design, social welfare, health & safety, adaptation of livelihoods etc.
agro-ecology & food democracy
Agro-ecology can rethink the relations of producers, markets and the ecosystems resilience in a changing climate. With the dimension of ‘food democracy’ it can mobilize social / cooperative enterprise on a large scale, which then fits with the adaptive pathways for landscape, soil, water, local livelihoods etc.
circular economy & eco-livelihood
businesses need to invest and create jobs & the peri-urban can be a vital part of a city-region circular economy, with a continuous flow of re-use recycling & recovery. This may include shift from mainstream business models, towards cooperative, mutual or similar forms of social-eco business. These can then work in sectors such as food & forestry, biodiversity & ecosystems, education & health, leisure & well-being of all kinds.
distributed / networked infrastructure & services
in the further hinterland, energy and water technologies see rapid innovation in local distributed harvesting, storage, conversions etc. These can enable further peri-urban off-grid expansion: they can also enable climate-proofing of development with practical alternatives to centralized / intensive infrastructure.
Collaborative governance, civil partnerships
As the peri-urban agenda crosses many boundaries & involves many sectors, new forms of civil society partnerships, networks, forums, dialogues can emerge. These may be based on water catchments, bio-regions, or terrestrial eco-regions, as well as economic zones, commuting patterns etc. Government can enable these with round table structures, deliberative processes, core subsidies, rules for transparency & accountability.
Radical governance, grassroots networks
For Kumasi the unique dual system of customary governance should be an opportunity for emerging forms of radical ecological democracy & the ‘pluriverse’. These can show real alternatives to the mainstream top-down neo-liberal consensus on development & livelihood. The peri-urban can be host to many creative variations on the social dimensions of agro-ecology, local livelihoods, grassroots self-help, social mutual aid, stewardship of the commons etc.