Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah

Assistant Professor - Department of Urban and Regional Planning
efrimpon@buffalo.edu - 226 Hayes Hall - (716) 829-5930

Assistant Professor - Department of Urban and Regional Planning

Professor Boamah pictured speaking with students in foreground.

Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah speaking during an Environtal Design Workshop presentation for Fillmore Avenue. Photo by Maryanne Schultz

Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah holds a joint faculty appointment with the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and the Community for Global Health Equity (CGHE). As an interdisciplinary scholar, he utilizes multiple theoretical and methodological lenses to interrogate issues related to urban health, public policy, environmental governance, land tenure, and sustainable urbanism in both Global North and South countries.

Frimpong Boamah’s belief in an interdisciplinary approach to urban planning and studies and social science research drives his research, teaching, and community service agenda. His research has been published in international refereed journals such as World Development, Food Policy, Land Use Policy, Ecology and SocietyPlanning TheoryTransport PolicyJournal of Housing and Built Environment, and Geography Research Forum. He participated in the Adaptive Water Governance Project, an interdisciplinary project bringing together legal and resilience scholars to explore links in ecological resilience and the law and policy governing the process of water management in complex, multi-jurisdictional water basins. The program was funded by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) housed at the University of Maryland. 

I am trained as an interdisciplinary scholar ... when I think of water I think of land, and when I Think of land I think of food. These three things go hand in hand.

 - Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah at a panel discussion entitled Research for The Common Good, sponsored by the the UB School of Social Work April 4 , 2018

Recent News and Media Mentions


New research by urban planning professor Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah explores a dual land tenure system in Ghana that dates back to British Colonial rule and has led to the exploitation of poor and vulnerable populations.


  • PhD urban and public affairs (urban planning, public policy and sustainable development), University of Louisville
  • MUP, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Selected activities, honors and awards

  • ACSP Junior Faculty of Color Fellowship, Harvard University, 2019
  • Outstanding Faculty Award, UB Graduate Student Planning Association, 2019
  • National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity, University at Buffalo, 2018


This seminar explores issues, trends, and debates in planning and development especially in the context of the Global South. The seminar focuses especially on the ways in which planning and development policies and strategies influence health equity in the Global South. 
This course introduces students to the historical narratives and conceptual/theoretical underpinnings of urban and regional planning. The course is structured to engender critical conversations around issues such as, “how can planners learn from the past to inform the present and future?” and “can (and do) planners actually plan without theory?”
This course offers students a survey of classic and contemporary theories of planning. The logic behind the ideas, concepts and actions of planning is continuously challenged as views shift about the relationship between democracy, markets and government. Students will gain a deeper appreciation for evolution of planning thought as well as be introduced to some of the “theoretical tools” used to analyze planning. 


Professor Boamah speaking with students in group picture.

Frimpong Boamah during a site visit with undergraduate environmental design students. Photo by Maryanne Schultz

Frimpong Boamah is a prolific researcher and scholar with interests in water governance and determinations of the appropriate institutional frameworks for dealing with water issues.

His dissertation project examined how collaborative governance in the Middle Rio Grande (MRG) urban watershed is shaped by factors such as social capital, trust, social-ecological risks, access to information, and political power. He argued that these factors evince the governance of the MRG as a polycentric ecology of urban water policy games.

Today, Frimpong Boamah’s research continues to explore the frontiers of scholarship on urban health and planning, environmental governance, and public policy in the U.S. and sub-Saharan Africa.  He is currently involved in three projects. The first project builds on his dissertation to develop an agent-based, game-theoretic model to simulate the emergence of collaborative governance networks in watershed systems. The second project also develops a game-theoretic model based on his co-authored paper, Legal Pluralism, Land Tenure and the Production of “Nomotropic Urban Spaces” in Post-colonial Accra, Ghana. The model explains “nomotropic urbanism,” a concept he and his co-author used to capture the urban informality, land tenure, and political-economic dynamics in postcolonial cities in Africa. The third project draws on theoretical constructs from schools of thought such as the Virginia (constitutional political economy) and the Bloomington (polycentric governance) schools of political economy to explore complex urban health and planning, governance, and public policy issues in postcolonial sub-Saharan Africa countries (e.g. collective action dilemmas of urban traffic pollution, urban agriculture and food networks, political decentralization and urban planning paralysis, and public finance).


Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah, assistant professor of urban and regional planning, and Samina Raja professor of urban and regional planning, join James Sumberg in examining how Ghana’s dual legal land system affects urban farmers
Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah, assistant professor of urban and regional planning, and Clifford Amoako explore informal housing dynamics in Kumasi, Ghana.
Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah, assistant professor of urban and regional planning, examines the rules that are often chosen to frame decentralization in Ghana.
Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah, assistant professor of urban and regional planning, makes an initial contribution towards building a polycentricity index to account for the governing of social–ecological systems.
Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah, assistant professor of urban and regional planning, and collaborators review principles of social cognition and decision making that shape and constrain how environmental governance systems adapt.
Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah, assistant professor of urban and regional planning, and Clifford Amoako explore informal housing dynamics in Kumasi, Ghana.