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Architects tasked on urban renewal, economic growth

By Bertram Nwannekanma
03 December 2018   |   4:11 am
Faced with the declining urban settlement, architects have been challenged on designs and innovations that are capable of mitigating the nation’s developmental challenges.

General Secretary, Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), Sani Saulawa (left); third Vice President, Adeniyi Mobolaji; President, Njoku Festus Adibe and second Vice President, Enyi Ben-Eboh during NIA annual general meeting in Lagos.

Faced with the declining urban settlement, architects have been challenged on designs and innovations that are capable of mitigating the nation’s developmental challenges.

They say, that most developmental and economic challenges are best tackled through architectural works. This and more were the thrust of discussions at the 58th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Institute of architects held in Lagos themed: “Architecture and National Regeneration”.

The four-day event, touted to be the largest gathering of architects in Nigeria also witnessed thought provoking contributions from experts on entrepreneurial innovations, best practices and other diverse survival strategies opened to architects to wade through recession in the built environment.

It also provided an avenue for the presentation of a book titled: The Creative Entrepreneurs: Unlocking Entrepreneurial potentials authored by renowned architect and founder of PCD Associates, M.B Bello.

President, Nigerian Institute of Architect (NIA), Festus Adibe Njoku, who provided the fulcrum of discussion, stressed the need for architects to imbibe the model best practices in architectural works for the improvement of the economy.

According to him, this intended economic growth would in turn improve and promote the people’s quality of life.

Njoku noted that national regeneration could be likened to a rebirth or reinvigoration, especially of declining urban areas.

The facets of regeneration, he said, could take the angle of urban renewal and regeneration propositions towards solving or alleviating social and economic problems.

According to him, this would largely involve the search for and creation of solutions for these challenges, which usually takes the form of public policy making in order to regulate urban processes in an attempt also to improve our urban environment .

The institute’s first Vice President, Sunny Echono, represented by the second Vice President, Enyi Ben-Eboh said the role of architects as professionals in the built environment vis-à-vis the fact that human urban regeneration and its strategies usually include transformation in certain target areas; to include housing, public and private buildings, servicers, infrastructure, urban landscape and skylines.

He stressed that it is such that it involves the commitment of a large number of stakeholders at different levels, local, sub national, national and sometimes international with the collective aim of re-launching the city and its economy to achieve set objectives.

Ultimately, Echono stated that regeneration improves the lives of the people, by creating environments that enhance people’s health and wellbeing.

In his keynote address, the former President of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, Samuel Óghale Oboh, called for a break away from designing for economic reasons to solving the problems of society.

He stressed that architects are very important in Nigeria because there is so much that they could do to improve the people works in their daily activities.