Godwin Arku

Associate Professor
Western Faculty Scholar

Godwin Arku

Contact Information

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

Research Areas

Regional and local economic development policy and planning; Urban development and policy analysis; Immigrants Integration; Development issues.

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. Regional and local economic development policy and planning
  2. Urban development and policy analysis
  3. Immigrants Integration
  4. Development issues


GEO 2420 – Economic Geography

GEO 2460 – Urban Development

GEO 3465 – Urban Economic Development and Policy

GEO 9117 – Urban Geography of the Developing World

Supervised Graduate Students and Theses Titles

PhD Students

  • E. Annan-Aggrey (Current) Overview of the development partner landscape in Ghana in relation to the SDGs
  • E. Bandauko (Current) Governance and the Spatial Politics of Street Traders in African Cities
  • M. Chatwin (Current) Context Matters: Examining the systems characteristics that limit or facilitate inclusive civic participation in local government
  • S. Kutor (Current) International migration and Immigration policies
  • I. Yusuf (Current) Gentrifried: A post-colonial analysis of the gentrification of Ottawa's "Heron-Gate"
  • E. Kyeremeh (2020) Immigrant Personal Networks and the Integration Process in Canada: A Case Study of Ghanaian Immigrants in the GTA
  • R. Antabe (joint-supervised) (2020) HIV Vulnerability and Resilience among Heterosexual African, Caribbean and Black (ACB) men in London, Ontario, Canada
  • 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

Masters Students

  • D. Spilsbury (Current) Hedging Your Bet: Single industry towns' response to economic change in Canada
  • M. Vecchio (2020) Treasure amongst the ruins: Urban industrial plant redevelopment - The Policy and Industrial Practices of Ontario
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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


Refereed Journals

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. ublic 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. nternational 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. ournal 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.

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.