Urban Growth, Neoliberal Failures, and Water Scarcity in Accra and Atlanta
This project investigates water governance regimes in Atlanta (USA) and Accra (Ghana), two rapidly growing cities —one from the global North and the other from the global South—that share similar histories of neoliberal water governance failure. Investigators will use qualitative methods (historical analysis, policy documents, in-depth interviews) and an urban political ecology framework to advance three objectives: 1) understand the legacies of neoliberal policy failures in the water sector; 2) examine actors and power relations involved in water governance; and 3) interrogate the nascent adoption of urban resilience in water governance. By bringing water policy and planning research into dialogue with UPE, we aim to uncover how “access to, control over, and distribution of water” is organized in Accra and Atlanta, identifying who benefits and who is excluded from stakeholder governance. The comparative approach to this study is situated in broader debates about neoliberal urban policies and emergent paradigms for urban governance based on resilience. The initial phase of the project will commence in January 2018 with stakeholder interviews in Atlanta following IRB approval. In June 2018, the investigators will travel to Accra, Ghana, to conduct archive research and interviews. The project forms part of a broader research initiative led by Dr. Richard Milligan and Dr. Ellis Adjei Adams with the goal of establishing a research agenda on global urban water at GSU. Currently, these scholars are forming a Global Urban Water Laboratory with graduate students from the Department of Geosciences to build upon connections with key water stakeholders, institutions, and researchers in Atlanta and throughout the world.
Research team and affiliated institutions: Ellis A. Adams (Global Studies Institute and Department of Geosciences, GSU), Richard Milligan (Department of Geosciences, GSU), and Patrick Cobbinah (Department of Planning, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology).