Godwin Arku

Associate Professor


Contact Information

Office: Room 2427, SSC
Tel: 519 661-2111, 85343
Fax: 519 661-1233
E-mail: garku@uwo.ca

Research Areas

Housing and economic development; Urban development and policy analysis; Regional and local economic development policy and planning;  Third World development issues (esp. Africa)

Research Interests

My research spans 'urban' and 'economic' sub-division of human geography, especially as they relate to the transformation of urban systems in a changing global environment. I am also interested in issues of third world development. Specific areas of present research interests are:

  1. Housing and economic development
  2. Urban development and policy analysis
  3. Regional and local economic development policy and planning
  4. Third World development issues (esp. Africa)

Publications & Supervised Graduate Students and Theses Titles

Chatwin, M., & Arku, G. (2019) Defining subnational open government: Does local context influence policy and practice? Policy Sciences. doi.org/10.1007/s11077-018-09347-7.

Cleave, E., Arku, G. & Chatwin, M. (2019) One Step Forward, Two Steps Back? Examining the Influence of Consultants on City Economic Development Policy. Canadian Journal of Public Administration, 62 (1). doi.org/10.1111/capa.12299.

Cleave, E., Arku, G. & Chatwin, M. (2019) Are they Surgeons or Plumbers? Assessing the Role of Private Sector Consultants in Place Branding and Other Place-Based Economic Development Strategies. Public Organization Review. DOI: 1007/s11115-017-0396-0.

Hussey, L.  & Arku, G. (2019) Conceptualizations of Climate-related health risks Among Experts and the Public in Ghana. Social Science & Medicine 223: 40-50.

Sowatey, E., Nyantakyi-Frimpong, H., Mkandawire, P. Arku, G., Hussey, L., Amasaba, A. (2018) Spaces of resilience, ingenuity, and entrepreneurship in informal work in urban Ghana International Planning Studies 23(4): 327-339.

DuBreck, C., Sadler, R., Arku, G. & Gilliland, J. (2018) Examining Community and Consumer Food Environments: An urban-suburban-rural comparison in Southwestern Ontario. Social Science & Medicine 209: 33-42.

Chatwin, M. & Arku, G. (2018). Co-creating open government action plans: the case of Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly, Ghana. Growth & Change 49(2): 374-393.

Cleave, E., & Arku, G. (2017) Putting a Number on Place: A systematic review of place branding influence. Journal of Place Management and Development 10(5):425-446.

Chatwin, M. & Arku, G. (2017). Beyond Ambiguity: Conceptualizing Open Government through a Human Systems Framework. Journal of Democracy 9(1):52-78.

Cleave, E., Arku, G., Sadler, R. & Kyeremeh, E. (2017) Place Marketing, Place Branding and Social Media: Perspectives of Municipal Practitioners. Growth & Change. 48(4):1012-1033.

Cleave, E., Watson McCauley, B. & Arku, G (2017) Just Because You Could, Doesn’t Mean You Should: Exploring if (and when) cities should brand through a case of the city of London, Ontario. Canadian Journal of Urban Research 26(2): 1-14.

Cleave, E., Arku, G., Sadler, R. & Gilliland, J. (2017) Is it Sound Policy or Fast Policy? Practitioners’ Perspectives on the Role of Place Branding in Local Economic Development. Urban Geography. 38 (8): 1133-1157.

Cleave, E., Arku, G., Chatwin, M. (2017) Cities’ Economic Development Efforts in a Changing Global Economy: Content Analysis of Economic Development Plans of Cities in Ontario, Canada. Area. 49(3): 359-368.

Kennedy, J., Arku, G. & Cleave, E. (2017) The Experiences of Service Providers of Housing First Programs in Three Communities in Ontario, Canada. International Journal of Housing Policy. 17(3): 396-416. 

Kennedy, J., Forchuk, C., Arku, G., & Buzzelli, M. (2016) Service Providers Perspectives and Tenants Satisfaction with the Implementation of Housing First Program in the City of London Ontario, Canada. Housing & Society 43(2): 82-102. 

Arku, G. Yeboah, I., Nyantakyi-Frimpong, H. (2016) Public Parks as an Element of Urban Development: A missing piece in Accra’s growth and development. Local Environment 21 (12): 1500-1515.

Nyantakyi-Frimpong, H., Arku, G. & Inkoom, D. (2016) Urban agriculture and political ecologies of health. GeoForum. 72: 38-48.

Arku, G., Mensah, K., Allotey, N., & Addo-Frempong, E. (2016) (Non)-compliance with Building Permit Regulations in Accra, Ghana: Exploring the reasons from the perspective of multiple stakeholders. Planning Theory & Practice. 17 (3): 361-384.

Cleave, E., Arku, G., Sadler, R. & Gilliland, J. (2016) The Role of Place Branding in Local and Regional Economic Development: Toward bridging the gap between policy and practicality. Regional Studies, Regional Science.  3(1): 207-228.

Kuuire, V., Arku, G., Luginaah, I., Buzzelli, M. & Abada, T. (2016) Obligations and Expectations: Perceived relationship between Transnational Housing Investment and Housing Consumption Decisions among Ghanaians Immigrants in Canada. Housing, Theory & Society 33 (4): 445-468.

Kuuire, V., Arku, G., Luginaah, I., Buzzelli, M., & Abada, T. (2016) Transnational-Integration Nexus: Examining the relationship between transnational housing investment and homeownership status in Canada. Geoforum 75: 168-179.

Kuuire, V., Arku, G., Luginaah, I., Abada, T., & Buzzelli, M. (2016) Impact of Remittance Behaviour on Immigrant Housing Ownership Trajectories: An Analysis of the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants in Canada from 2001-2005. Social Indicators Research. 127 (3): 1135-1156.

Nyantakyi-Frimpong, H., Arku, G. & Inkoom, D. (2016) Urban agriculture and political ecologies of health.  Geoforum. 72: 38-48.

Sadler, R., Gilliland, J., & Arku, G. (2016) Theoretical Issues in the ‘Food Desert’ Debate and Ways Forward. GeoJournal. 81(3): 443-455.

Kuuire, V., Mkandawire, P., Luginaah, I., & Arku, G. (2016) Abandoning Land in Search of Farms: Challenges of subsistence migrant farming. Agriculture & Human Values. 33(2):475-488.

Sadler, R., Cleave, E., Arku, G., and Gilliland, J. (2016) A comparative analysis of place branding in Michigan and Ontario. Urban Research and Practice. 9(1): 16-36.

Arku, G. (2015) Economic Development Practices of Cities in Ontario. Community Development. 46(5): 604-615.

Arku, G. and Oosterbaan, C. (2015) Evidence of Inter-Territorial Collaborative Economic Development Strategies in Ontario, Canada. GeoJournal. 80(3): 361-374.

Sadler, R., Arku, G., and Gilliland, J. (2015) Local Food Network as Catalysts for Food Policy Change to Improve Health and Build the Economy. Local Environment. 20(9):1103-1121.

Taabazuing, M., Arku, G. and Mkandawire, P. (2015) Economic Development in a Changing Global Environment: what do practitioners think? Urban Research and Practice. 8(2): 145-164.

Cleave, E., and Arku, G. (2015) Place Branding and Economic Development at the Community Level in Ontario, Canada. GeoJournal. 80(3): 323-338.

Cleave, E., & Arku, G. (2015) Community Branding and Brand Images in Ontario, Canada: A case study. Place Branding and Public Diplomacy. 11(1): 65-82.

Mkandawire, P., Arku, G., Atari, O., Madut, K., Luginaah, I. and Dixon, J. (2015) “My house is the hospital”: Housing and health well-being of persons living with HIV/AIDS in Northern Malawi. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. 26(4): 1246-1264.

Baiden, P., Dunnen, W., Arku, G., and Mkandawire, P. (2014) 'The role of sense of community belonging on unmet health care needs in Ontario, Canada: Findings from the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey.' Journal of Public Health. 22(5):467-478.

Cleave, E., and Arku, G. (2014) ‘Competitiveness through Cooperation: Analysis of Spatial Patterns and Inter-Jurisdiction Collaboration in the Place Branding of Ontario Communities, Canada.’ Local Economy.

Sadler, R., Gilliland, J., and Arku, G. (2014) ‘Stakeholders and Policy-Maker Perception of Key Issues in Food Systems Planning and Policy-Making.’ Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition.

Arku, G. (2014) ‘Competition and Cooperation in Economic Development: Examining the Perceptions of Practitioners in Ontario’. Journal of Urban Affairs. 36(1): 99-118.

Arku, G. (2013) 'Outsourcing Functions to Economic Development Corporations? Exploring the Perceptions of Officials in Ontario, Canada.' Public Organization Review. 13 (1): 49-70.

Sadler, R., Gilliland, J., and Arku, G. (2013) ‘Community Development and the Influence of New Food Retail Sources on the Price and Availability of Nutritious Food.’  Journal of Urban Affairs. 35(4): 471-491.

Kuuire, V., Mkandawire, P., Arku, G., and Luginaah, I. (2013) ‘Abandoning Farms in Search of Food: Food Remittance and Household Food Security in Ghana.’ African Geographical Review. 32(2): 125-139.

Mkandawire, P., Luginaah, I., Dixon, J., Armah, F. and Arku, G. (2013) ‘Circumcision status and time to first sexual intercourse: HIV prevention policy dilemmas in Malawi.’ AIDS & Behavior. 17: 2123-2135.

Sadler, R., Gilliland, J., and Arku, G. (2013) ‘A Food Retail-Based Intervention on Food Security and Consumption.’ (International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health. 10(8): 3325-3346.

Arku, G. (2013) ‘Outsourcing Functions to Economic Development Corporations? Exploring the Perceptions of Officials in Ontario, Canada.' Public Organization Review. 13(1): 49-70.

Arku, G., Luginaah, I. and Mkandawire, P. (2012) ‘You Either Pay More Advance Rent or You Move Out: Landlords and Tenants Dilemma in the Low Housing Market in Accra, Ghana.' Urban Studies. 49(14): 3177-3193.

Oosterbaan, C., Arku, G., and Asiedu, B. A. (2012) ‘Conversion of Residential Units into Offices and Commercial Spaces in Accra: a policy dilemma.' International Planning Studies. 17(1): 45-66.

Arku, G., Luginaah, I. Mkandawire, P. Baiden, P. and Asiedu, A. B. (2011) ‘Housing and Health in three Contrasting Neighbourhoods in Accra, Ghana.' Social Science & Medicine. 72(11): 1864-1872.

Arku, G., Kemp, J. and Gilliland, J (2011) ‘Analysis of Public Debates on Urban Growth Patterns in London, Ontario.' Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice & Sustainability. 16(2): 147-163. 

Baiden, P., Arku, G., Luginaah, I. and Asiedu, A. B. (2011) ‘An Assessment of Residents’ Housing Satisfaction and Coping.’ Journal of Public Health. 19(1): 29-37.

Sadler, R., Gilliland, J., and Arku, G. (2011) ‘An Application of the Edge Effect in Measuring Accessibility to Multiple Food Retailer Types in Southwestern Ontario.’ International Journal of Health Geographies. 10:34.

Hayek, M., Novak, M., Arku, G., and Gilliland, J. (2010) ‘Mapping Industrial Legacies: Building a Spatially-Referenced Comprehensive Brownfield Database in GIS.’ Planning Practice & Research. 25(4): 461-475.

Allotey, N., Arku, G., and Amponsah, P. E. (2010) 'Earthquake-Disaster Preparedness: The Case of Accra.' International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment. 1 (2): 140-156.

Hayek, M., Arku, G., and Gilliland, J. (2010) ‘Assessing London Ontario’s Brownfield ; Redevelopment Effort to Promote Urban Intensification.’ Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice & Sustainability. 15(4): 389-402.

Luginaah, I., Arku, G., and Baiden, P. (2010) ‘Housing and Health: Psychosocial and Well-being Impacts of Renting a Home in the AMA.’ International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health. 7: 528-545.

Arku, G. (2009) ‘Rapidly Growing African Cities Need to Adopt Smart Growth Policies to Solve Urban Problems.’ Urban Forum. 20(3): 253-270.

Arku, G. (2009) ‘The Economics of Housing Programmes in Ghana, 1929-1966.’ Planning Perspectives. 24(3): 281-300.

Asiedu, B. A. and Arku, G. (2009) ‘The Rise of Gated Housing Estates in Ghana: Experiences from three Communities in Metropolitan Accra.’ Journal of Housing and the Built Environment. 24(3):227-247.

Arku, G. (2009) ‘Housing Policy Changes in Ghana in the 1990s.’ Housing Studies. 24 (2): 261-272.

Chapters in Books

Chatwin, M. & Arku, G. (2018) 'Smart Urban Governance.' IN: Smart Economy in Smart African Cities: Sustainable, Resilience, Inclusive and Prosperous. G. Mboup and O. Oyeyinka (editors), Springer.

Arku, G. & Sadler, R. (2017) 'Healthy Cities.' IN: Urbanization in a Global Context: A Canadian Readers Guide. Alison Bain and Linda Peak (editors). Oxford University Press. 361-376.

Cleave, E., and Arku, G. (2015) 'Reaching a “Critical Mass”: Analysis of Inter-regional Place Branding Amongst Communities in Ontario, Canada.' In: Inter-Regional Place Branding: Best Practices, Challenges and Solutions. S. Zenker and B. P. Jacobsen (Eds.). Springer. 99-114.

Arku, G. Mkandawire, P. Luginaah, I., and Baiden, P. (2014) 'Healthcare Access in Three Residential Neighbourhoods in Accra, Ghana.' IN: Weeks, J.R., Hill, A.G., & Stoler J. (Eds.) Spatial Inequalities: Health, Poverty and Place in Accra, Ghana. Springer Publication. 191-204.

Arku, G. (2010) 'Geography and Environment' in Africa and the Wider World ed H. Tijani, R. Njoku, and T. Jones (Pearson Prentice Hall). 1-18.

Arku, G. and Mkandawire, P. (2009) 'Precarious Balance: The future of Environmental Degradation in Sub-Saharan Africa' in Environment and Health in Sub-Saharan Africa: Managing an Emerging Crisis ed I.N. Luginaah and E.K. Yanful (Springer: London). 141-154.

Mkandawire, P. and Arku, G. 2009 'Environmental Legislations and Regulations in Sub-Saharan Africa: 'Green Development' or 'Green Imperialism'?' in Environment and Health in Sub-Saharan Africa: Managing an Emerging Crisis ed I.N. Luginaah and E.K. Yanful (Springer: London). 95-110.

Supervised Graduate Students and Theses Titles

PhD Students Year Title
E. Annan-Aggrey Current Overview of the development partner landscape in Ghana in relation to the SDGs
R. Antabe
Current HIV Vulnerability and Resilience among Heterosexual African, Caribbean and Black (ACB) men in London, Ontario, Canada
M. Chatwin Current Context Matters: Examining the systems characteristics that limit or facilitate inclusive civic participation in local government
E. Kyeremeh Current Immigrant Personal Networks and the Integration Process in Canada: A Case Study of Ghanaian Immigrants in the GTA
I. Yusuf Current Gentrifried: A post-colonial analysis of the gentrification of Ottawa's "Heron-Gate"
E. Cleave 2018 Does It Work? Examining the Effectiveness of Place Branding in Local Economic Development     
L. Hussey 2018 Examining Climate Change-Health Nexus in Ghana
S. McFarlane-Morris
2017 Development in Whose Interest? Understanding the Promises and Realities of Mass Tourism as the Key Development Strategy along the North Coast of Jamaica: A Comparative Analysis of the Towns of Falmouth and Lucea
L. Osei
2017 Poverty, Unemployment and Youth Empowerment in African Mining Communities: The Case of Ghana
V. Kuuire
2015 Understanding Immigrant Housing Integration in Canada - The Role of Transnational Engagements
R. Sadler
2013 Evaluating the Food System and Effective Interventions for Health and the Economy
MA Students Year Title
D. Spilsbury Current Hedging Your Bet: Single industry towns' response to economic change in Canada
M. Vecchio Current Treasure amongst the ruins: Urban industrial plant redevelopment - The Policy and Industrial Practices of Ontario
J. Kennedy 2015 Service providers and tenants perceptions of the Housing First Model in Southern Ontario
E. Cleave 2014 Economic development in the contemporary global environment: The role of place branding as a tool of local economic development in Ontario, Canada
M. Taabazuing 2012 Economic development in a knowledge-based economy: Perceptions of directors and consultants in Ontario
M. Zaami
2012 Experiences of Socio-Apatial Exclusion among Ghanaian Immigrant Youth in Toronto: Case Study of Jane-Finch Neighbourhood
V. Kuuire
2011 Food Security Situation of Migrant Farmers in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana
R. Sadler
2010 Upgrade from Masters Program to PhD Program
M. Hayek 2009 Brownfield redevelopment in London, Ontario: Developing a methodology for creating a Brownfield database and an examination of policy initiatives aimed at promoting redevelopment
C. Oosterbaan 2009 Economic reforms and changing urban landscape of Accra and Kumasi: The conversion of residential units into commercial and office spaces
MSc Students Year Title
C. DuBreck
2017 Investigating the Geographic Variation in Children's Menu Items in Four North American Cities
T. Thayer
2016 Built Environment and Travel Behaviour


GEO 2420A - Economic Geography
GEO 2460G - Urban Development
GEO 3465F - Urban Economic Development
GEO 9117 - Urban Geography of the Developing World