Scholars 2020

University of Technology, Sydney, Australia

"The Tensions and Contradictions in Rapid Urbanization in Ghana: Implications for Urban Governance"

Franklin Obeng-Odoom is the Chancellor's Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the School of the Built Environment and a member of the Asia Pacific Centre for Complex Real Property Rights at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS).

His doctoral work was supervised by Frank Stilwell, Australia's first full professor of political economy and well known public intellectual.

Franklin's research interests are in political economy of natural resources(especially water, oil, and land), political economy of cities, and political economy of development. His current work at UTS is in agrarian political economy, looking at inherited, imposed, and directed transformations in land and property rights, food security and economic development, as well as their spatial and temporal dynamics.

Among the journals in which his research has appeared are Review of African Political Economy, The Review of Black Political Economy, and Review of Social Economy.

Franklin is Associate Editor of African Review of Economics and Finance and Journal of Sustainable Development, and the Book Review Editor of Journal of International Real Estate and Construction Studies. He serves on the editorial board of Urban Challenge (Urbani Izziv).

In January 2013, he was appointed by the International Social Science Council as a World Social Science Fellow [] for work on sustainable urbanisation. In 2010, he was named a Dan David Prize Scholar [] for 'innovative and interdisciplinary research that cuts across traditional boundaries and paradigms the field of March Towards Democracy'. Franklin is the author of the book, Governance for Pro-Poor Urban Development: Lessons from Ghana (Routledge, 2013) [].

More about his work can be found on his personal website at

Update: June 2014

A new book published by Franklin Obeng-Odoom, on the making of an oil city in Africa: 

Update: January 2015

Franklin Obeng-Odoom, author of Oiling the Urban Economy, discusses his recently published book and the implications of transnational oil and property rights.

Update: July 2015

Franklin Obeng-Odoom was elected into the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences in June 2015. He became the youngest fellow of all the 100 or so current fellows and certainly one of the youngest to have been elected a fellow since the academy was established in 1959. The first of its kind in postcolonial Africa, fellowship to the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences is highly prestigious. Other fellows are the former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan. 

Update: December 2016

New Book: Reconstructing Urban Economics
Towards a Political Economy of the Built Environment
A substantial and much-needed contribution to urban economics, providing both a critique of the mainstream and a compass for alternatives.

 Update: July 2018

Franklin Obeng-Odoom is with the Development Studies Group within the Department of Political and Economic Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, at the University of Helsinki in Finland. He is Associate Professor of Social Sustainability of Urban Transformations in the Global South. He is also a Member of the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science. Previously, he was a Teaching Fellow at the University of Sydney where he was based at the Department of Political Economy. His contribution to the department's teaching was in three areas: economics as a social science, international economy and finance, and political economy of development.

Franklin's research interests are centred on the political economy of development, cities, and natural resources. His doctoral work in political economy was supervised by Frank Stilwell: a well-known public intellectual and, notably, the doyen of political economy in Australia. He studied Georgist philosophy and political economy at the Henry George School of Social Science in Chicago, USA and worked on the institutional economics of Richard Theodore Ely and Gunnar Myrdal at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development in Geneva, Switzerland.

Obeng-Odoom has made various contributions to political economy. He is the author of four books, including Oiling the Urban Economy (Routledge, London), The Myth of Private Property (University of Toronto Press, Toronto), and Reconstructing Urban Economics (Zed, London), which is listed in the top five entries for the Egon-Matzner-Award for Socio-Economics in 2017

. He guest-edited the special issue of the Journal of Australian Political Economy on 'Global Economic Inequalities and Development', a controversial analysis of which forced the International Monetary Fund to issue an official statement in defence of its policies. Obeng-Odoom is Associate Editor of the Forum for Social Economics and the substantive Editor of African Review of Economics and Finance.

Obeng-Odoom's research has generated much academic interest. His work is widely used for instruction at universities such as Harvard, Cambridge, and the London School of Economics. The recipient of a number of reputable research awards,  a World Social Science Fellow in 2013 and, in 2015, was elected to the Fellowship of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences

. Dr. Franklin Obeng-Odoom received the Patrick J. Welch Award from the Association for Social Economics in 2016 and the 2017 Kapp Prize for research that exemplifies and best demonstrates the theoretical perspectives of the European Association for Evolutionary Political Economy.