Global Health Equity's Newest Faculty Hire an Expert in International Urban Planning and Governance

Photo by Douglas Levere

By Jessica Scates

Published July 28, 2017

In Ghana, a newborn child receives the names of both parents, which are often aspirations for the child’s future. Dr. Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah, the most recent faculty hire for the UB School of Architecture and Planning, is on a path to live up to his father’s name, Boamah, Helper of Nations.

Dr. Frimpong Boamah’s research reflects a variety of interests that do not quite fit into traditional urban planning programs. But this is purposeful. Trained as an urban planner in his native Ghana, Dr. Frimpong Boamah quickly realized that traditional planning required a better understanding of governance and public policy to affect economic, social, and political change. He went on to receive his PhD in Urban and Public Affairs with a specialization in urban planning, sustainable development, and environmental planning and governance from the University of Louisville, Kentucky. His research focuses on the urban environment, multilevel governance structures and environmental health outcomes.

Dr. Frimpong Boamah’s position was created in partnership with the UB Community for Global Health Equity to bridge an existing research gap between urban planning, governance, and international development. He tries to answer big questions related to issues of land tenure for communities around the world. Land tenure, or the access granted to individuals to use, control, and transfer land is complicated, affecting political, economic and social structures. Land tenure in informal settlements, or shanty towns in the Global South, a term used to define low-income countries in South America, south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, have been shown to impact environmental sustainability, governance processes, and food security for populations around the world.

A champion for students, Dr. Frimpong Boamah is eager to include them in his work. He emphasizes that the teaching environment is the first place he can make a difference in the field of planning and he envisions doing so by creating classroom environments that inspire critical thinking and dialogue, while exposing UB students to unfamiliar, yet important, policies and practices. Dr. Frimpong Boamah also envisions developing international studio curricula that link students with important partners throughout the world, giving them a first-hand understanding of urban informality and land tenure in the Global South.

The aspirations of Dr. Frimpong Boamah and those of the Community for Global Health Equity are shared, that UB emerge as a place where scholars from around the world gather to understand global urban challenges and explore innovative solutions to improve health and wellbeing of people, to be a helper of nations.