An example of how urban planning is improving the quality of life for the urban poor.
Makoko Slum redevelopment
In July 2012 city authorities went into Makoko slum and demolished part of it. The authorities said that this growing slum had grown too close to the neighbouring bridge and power cables. Locals say that over 3,000 people were affected and that they were only given 72 hours’ notice to leave the site. Many people argue that the slums need clearing, Makoko is on prime water front property close to the major port and Lagos Island. It is an ideal site for modern development and the people who live there are generally doing so illegally and are at risk of floods and waterborne disease. Others argue that Makoko is a well-established and historic community with clear community structures in place, it should be improved rather than demolished.
Lagos Metropolitan Development and Governance Project (LMDGP)
Lagos secured $200million in funding from the World Bank in 2006 for the Lagos Metropolitan Development and Governance Project (LMDGP). The aims of the project are to increase sustainable access to basic urban services through investments in critical infrastructure in 9 of the worst slums in Lagos, including Makoko. In particular, the project was looking to develop a long-term technical solution to flooding; and deal properly with solid waste activities and disposal.
The project was only moderately successful, but amongst the successes were;
1. Functioning facilities were supplying 95,000 people with improved water sources but 15 facilities were not working properly.
2. 280 extra classrooms (out of a planned 450) were built in the slums
3. 7 out of 10 Health facilities constructed, renovated and/or equipped
The Floating School of Makoko
Another project designed to improve the quality of life of the urban poor in Lagos was the Makoko floating school. Before it was built, the children of Makoko only had access to one primary school which was inadequate, built on reclaimed land and was frequently threatened by recurrent flooding.
In 2013, Kunlé Adeyemi with several NGOs such as United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) proposed to change this and by creating a functional building prototype for the school.
The Makoko floating school was designed to be sustainable and to adapt to the resident communities' aquatic lifestyle. The materials used were local such as bamboo, timber and other resources. This was to make a building that meets the physical, social needs of people and reflects the culture of the community.
The structure of the school building included;
1. A triangular A-Frame section with about 1,000-square-foot play area.
2. Classrooms on the second tier, partially enclosed with adjustable slats to allow shade and wind to circulate.
3. Classrooms surrounded by spatial public greenery.
4. A playground below the classroom while the roof contains an additional open air classroom.
5. The use of solar cells to the roof is sustainable, as are rainwater catchment systems and composting toilets. 250 plastic barrels were used to float on the waters and be naturally ventilated and aerated.
The floating school design won the awards and was successful. Unfortunately, in 2016, the Makoko Floating school structure was adversely affected by heavy rain, and collapsed. This is a real shame, as the school was a prototype for a much bigger project to change the housing of Makoko slum along the same lines as the school, improving the lives of the people who live there.
Eko Atlantic Project
This is a huge project aimed not at the urban poor but at the wealthy. It is taking place on a huge site on Victoria Island (where the CBD of Lagos is located) and is a mixed use residential and business development, along its upmarket Bar Beach coastline.
The ambitious project is being built on three and half square miles of land reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean and is expected to provide accommodation for 250,000 people and employment opportunities for a further 150,000.
The Eko Atlantic Project will bring direct investment into Lagos and increase employment in construction, the supply chain and in the area once it is built. Hotels and offices on the island will benefit too, and the reclaimed land will have the added benefit of protecting Lagos from flooding and storm surges. The development also offers new space for residential areas which are at a premium in Lagos.
However, this project may cause water pollution and there are environmental concerns over the use of dredging to gain material to reclaim the land from the sea. It is feared the use of sand may accelerate coastal erosion. Local fishermen and shell collectors living in the Oni-Jegi community will have their livelihoods disrupted and there are complaints that they were not consulted in the planning process. The other criticism is that the project is not aimed at the urban poor, but at the urban wealthy.
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