Sub-Saharan Africa » Nigeria

Lagos umbilical cord
  Lagos Metropolitan Metro Matrix Urban Strategic Plan Transport Traffic Commuter
  Lagos is the largest city in Africa in the largest country in Africa, in the wealthiest economy in Africa. A city whose growth is uncontrolled, a country that has to handle provision of needs to the 170 million population, oil and minerals wealth whose effect might be felt more abroad than in the development of Nigeria’s economy.

Lagos is a problem and a nightmare. The island is under traffic collapse and circumstances are worsening in spite of failed, conceptually insufficient, attempts to solve the public transport needs. Lagos Island needs to be linked to the mainland to survive. The stem, the petiole, the umbilical cord, now just 3 insufficient road bridges, would need to be multiplied to figures that make the project unrealistic. The wise alternative is the commuter train, extending the mainland rail terminus to reach the Island.

2 million passengers (Mumbai Victoria-Terminal Station 4 million) would be able to reach the Island and the different intermodal supply for local transport, without the need to suffer the never-ending jams of the 3 insufficient bridges. The Island Intermodal station would have to be designed as a multipurpose metropolitan/national centrality as well as the surrounding urban spaces to adequately make the multimodal public transport connection and distribution. Land Value increases would largely pay for the project if the administration is able enough to manage the procedure right.
Nigeria integrated Housing-Urban policies
  Housing demand typologies and strcutural policies Metro-Matrix
  Nigeria is experiencing a massive rural migration paralleled with population and economic growth. The 3 factors altogether produce an enormous pressure in urban development requiring rapid decision-making and an integrated Public-Private response to huge housing needs. Metro Matrix provides an answer to those needs.

Rural migration in the next 20 years would require on the range on 8 million new housing. Upgrading of actual infra-standard conditions will require as well a 10 million housing production. These 18 million dwellings have to be produced at a rate of 2 m per year. With an average density of 35 houses per hectare (dense terraced housing adapted to evolving rural cultural conditions) these needs will amount to 600 per year. A rectangle of 20 x 30 km: a whole new metropolis every year. A Lagos every 2 years!

It is necessary to ‘structure’ demand. That is to establish the different categories (real, potential, insolvent and unable) to target the necessary policies for each category with major private involvement in mind. Investment required will range on annual figures of 5 billion for the public sector (12.5%) and 35 billion for the private one (87.5%). The ‘average’ housing product cannot exceed the 20.000 USD threshold to be in the affordability bracket of the Nigerian population family income. This has to be done at a national scale as well as individually for the 19 major urban centers beyond ½ million inhabitants that are experiencing this major growth pressure.

Then comes the need to produce the serviced land (site and service approach?) and to locate it correctly in relation to public transport, the environment and productive activity (jobs) and social facilities (needs). Metro matrix can provide for that in an just in time approach, as shown for the case of Abuja with the 12 million population explosion expected beyond the FCT district. New Governance figures (Talk, Agree or Do?) will have to be established.
MetroAbuja: From Urban to Metropolitan, a scale leap
  Metro Matrix Metropolitan Abuja Mental Map Urban
  Abuja is 30 years old. A new Federal Capital located strategically in the center of Nigeria. Planned 30 years ago as an urban structure with a typical ‘two wing’ shape south and east from the central Institutional and Business district, has benefited from huge federal investments to make it possible: a formal Plan for an informal society. Reality has departed in a certain extent from what was planned. The question lately is what to do next. Come back to the Plan or go ahead to incorporate new circumstances?

One of those circumstances is the metropolitan structure of Abuja, beyond the urban one. The control of land supply has produced a speculation spiral from those lucky enough to benefit from concessions. Like in Brasilia prices of land and housing have expelled most of the low-income population beyond the Federal Capital limits. The States of Niger and Nasarawa, the towns of Suleja, Madalla, Kura or Keffi had suffered from a settlement of population that did not came paralleled with the required public budgets and investments. Masses of workers in sub-standard urban settlements flow the capital every morning (500.000 car inflow) without the inexistent public transport. The issues and problems of Abuja are beyond the urban scope of the original master Plan boundaries. They are now of Metropolitan nature and have to be addressed as well at this scale.

Metropolitan Abuja follows higher scale topo-geographic patterns. The east-west flow of continental Africa determines both the east-west flow of Nigeria ecosystems and the east-west structure of Metro-Abuja. Metro Abuja goes from Minna to Lafia in a very clear linear structure. Intermediate locations grown (and to be grown) out of the metropolitan overspill of Abuja have to be served by a mass public transport (rail) to provide a basic skeleton to the metropolis. The perpendicular directionality to Kaduna in the north and Lokoja in the south at the junction of the Niger, provide the matrix pattern to integrate towns like Nasarawa, Kuje, Tafa, Bwari among others. Metro-Matrix provides the structure for Metro-Abuja.
Nigeria, Ado Ekiti : Integrating ‘informality’ into Africa’s urban development
  Some economies have 70% of an informal ‘shadow’. Some metropolises have 80% of informal urban growth. This potential cannot be denied or suppressed. They need to be worked out, and integrated, since they are part of the system as well as part of the assets and growth potential.
But the informal sector is not only in Economy and Urban. It is also in Social services and Governance structures. The informal is the second reality: The shadow of Peter Pan, or the ‘imaginary numbers’.
The informal sector has to be integrated for the benefit of development.

The technique to integrate the informal is to develop mixed systems where the informal takes part of the provision service. That part has to be the adequate one, and then formal and informal can work together for that purpose. That is the objective of the ‘Neighborhood Centers’ for Ado-Ekiti.

Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria, is a good example of how to integrate both for the urban services provision to the population. Bottom-up planning with the empowerment of neighborhood informal social structures. Formal-informal Governance dialogue is essential for success.

Africa, as other developing economies in many continents, do not have the financial resources to achieve a full fledge urban services provision. The provision must be incremental: Starting from the basics and building up to a full system. Incrementalist approach will make a wall closet starting form “Hangers on a Wall” building it up to the sliding doors. This is the suggested urban approach to be taken in Africa’s urban development.

I hope this paper will contribute to the development of many cities and metropolises experiencing the challenge of rapid explosive growth in a context of strong informality and lack of financial resources.