By Dotun Akintomide
As the population of Lagos races towards 300 million by 2050, experts and the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode have said the growing development concerns as fallouts of the population surge will continue to pose serious challenge to architects in decades to come.
Nigerian NewsDirect gathered from eggheads who gave insightful thoughts at the 4-day Lagos 8.0 architects’ forum entitled: “Architectural Autopoiesis,” that Lagos as the epicenter of urban and infrastructure development in Nigeria is in dire need of 21st century architects who would conceptualize ideas and solutions to address its multifaceted problems.
Giving an expository lecture on the conference theme, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof. (Mrs.) Folashade Ogunsola said Lagos architects must apply the concept of autopoietic systems as applicable to some micro-organisms to self-create their responses to the housing, infrastructure and environmental challenges breeding social insecurity problems among the Lagos populace.
“Using Lagos as an archi-type which population rose from 1.4 million in 1970 to 2.1 million as at now, it then means that there must be a concerted effort to continue to respond to the growing needs, rather than play catch ups. And architects have key roles to play in bridging the huge development gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots.”
Prof. Ogunsola disclosed that considering 70% of Lagos population lives in slums, the continuous demolition of slums without providing alternatives by the Lagos State government will continue to be a precursor to high rates of destitutes, crimes, social problems and spread of diseases among residents.
She cited the case of Kuramo beach demolition, saying 95% of the Kuramo dwellers were Nigerians who relocated to the area after the demolition of Maroko in the early nineties. “Since Kuramo was also razed down to give way for the Eko Atlantic project, it has further contributed to high rate of crime with thugs, sex workers among other miscreants moving to the streets of Lagos to wreak havoc on residents.”
She challenged LASG to work with architects and other professionals in the built environment to find homegrown solutions towards addressing the plight of the slum dwellers without creating further problems.
The national President, Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), Arc. Tonye Braide stated that Lagos must lead the rest of Nigeria in bringing revolution to architecture practices. “I believe discourse like this will mark the beginning of new things in Lagos urban development because architecture has come of age in Nigeria.”
At the event, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode who was represented by the Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure, Mr. Ade Adesanya said Nigerian architects have not performed optimally as expected and that this explains the reasons as to why private and public stakeholders keep engaging foreign architects.
“Nigeria has the highest number of architects in West Africa and as such, emphasis should be on educating the public on the importance of engaging local architects,” he stated.
Ambode highlighted plans by his administration to ease off traffic on roads by boosting water transportation; construction of fourth mainland bridge as well as creation of alternative routes along Epe, Oworonsoki, Alimosho and Lagos/Ogun borders among others.
In February, 2017, Lagos was admitted to the league of 100 most resilient cities in the world by the Rockefeller foundation. “Our plan is to make Lagos one of the most liveable cities in the world.” He added.
To address the challenge of building collapse in the state, the Chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), Lagos Chapter, Arc. Fitzgerald Umah during the closing ceremony held last Friday, presented a document to Governor Ambode to improve on building engagements on all aspects of building construction processes.
Umah also challenged architects to continue to deliver on ground breaking solutions to address people’s needs through their works by regularly re-invigorating the architecturepractice.
Receiving the document entitled: “Architects’ intervention programme: A broad map to end building collapse,” the Commissioner for Physical Planning and urban Development, Mr. Wasiu Anifowoshe promised to hand over the document to Governor Ambode.
Speaking further, Anifowoshe said Lagos State government has kick-start the Electronic Building Plan (EBP) approval which makes it possible for applicants to get planning approval within 20 days.