Ghana can build well-planned and habitable wooden cities and communities, Koans Estate CEO Prof Kofi Anokye has suggested on Accra100.5FM’s morning show Ghana Yensom.
Speaking in an interview with Kwame Appiah Kubi about the recent revelation by the Ghana Statistical Service that 20 per cent of all the 10.7 million structures counted during the 2021 population and housing census, consists of kiosks, containers and other wooden structures, Prof Ankoye said: “Actually, container or kiosk housing is one the acceptable means of accommodation”.
“I can give you a typical example of the US, where they have over 70 per cent of their structures being modernised or improved kiosks because they are wooden structures but they have designed them in such a way that they are suitable for habitation”, Prof Anokye explained.
In his view, Ghana can replicate the American wood housing system as part of measures to reduce the more than two million housing deficit.
He noted that the wooden residential structures dotted across Ghana are far cry from what pertains in the US.
“Over here, it becomes a different ball game”, he told Appiah Kubi, adding: “It becomes damaging in our part of the world when it is not planned”.
“Kiosks and wooden structures are erected haphazardly in front of people’s homes and spaces reserved for lawns by squatters”, he contrasted.
Prof Anokye, however, said Ghana can borrow a leaf from the US.
“As we move forward, I’ll like to bring to the notice of the public that we can improve on the construction of houses using wood – plywood. It’s faster, it’s lighter, it’s cheaper and, so, I wouldn’t call it damning”, he said.
According to him, the “haphazard manner in which they are placed is what I will say is damning”.
“We are not planning our kiosk homes well, but then, you can build a kiosk city, you can build a wooden city”, he noted.
“If you compare the price of the raw materials for cement and plywood, you can make something nice [out of wood] but then we haven’t gotten there because not everyone can build block and brick houses”.
“Going forward, we can, we should be able to do that [build wooden homes] but then we’ll always have to compare prices of the cost of materials. Wooden construction is an integral part of our form of models because Achimota School, for instance, as of now, they have some wooden structures there but they planned it in a very nice way. That is the context and perspective I want to bring to it”.