The nature of urban economic design in Kumasi, Ghana, is often reflective of neoliberal economic policies prescribed by Bretton Woods institutions during the economic reforms of the 1980s. The economic structure, which is characterized by uncertainties of formal jobs, has triggered people’s ingenuity to engage in novel occupations. One economic activity that has gained popularity in Kumasi is vending of roasted traditional food (RTF) by women. This chapter explores how women have used vending of RTF to overcome years of acute austerity in the “paid” job market. It concentrates on the economic, spatial, and social networks that sustain this informal activity. Drawing on multiple data sources, the results confirm how the structure of the city space has consigned RTF vendors to obscurity, yet their activities are responding to the economic realities of time—increasing urbanization, limited job opportunities, and accumulation of poverty. As a survival strategy, the vendors have developed social connections with clients and made their place comfortable in order to claim their rightful place in the urban space economy. We conclude that given their contributions, the vendors must be appreciated as agents of change and part of the urban system.
Part of the book: Sustainability in Urban Planning and Design