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Dutch, Nigerian experts plan Lagoon city basin development scheme




One of the lagoon areas in Lagos, recently

One of the lagoon areas in Lagos, recently

The aim of the project is to integrate solutions on a set of challenges centered around the Lagoon as main asset. This Lagoon City Approach starts at the lagoon as central source and has the aim to recreate the Lagoon as a vital heart of Lagos.

IN a novel move to tackle the challenges associated with Lagos lagoon, a Netherlands-based alliance of 11 companies and two universities known as DASUDA- Alliance for Sustainable Urban Development in Africa, has entered into partnership with a team of Nigerian experts to recreate the Lagoon as a vital heart of Lagos.

The parties have form the “Urban Design Lab”: an initiative to tackle the urban challenges in Lagos and present sustainable solutions based on best international practice. One of the major outcomes of the meeting is the proposal for the launch of Lagoon City Basin Development scheme.

Senior management of leading companies, government decision makers, and other stakeholders in urbanization in Nigeria has already endorsed the Lagos Urban Design Lab. They include Kunlé Adeyemi (NLÉ) Simon Coker (ACCL) Annette Fisher (AF Architects) Theo Lawson (Total Consult Ltd) Giles Omezi (Laterite/ BUKKA) Papa Omotayo (MOE+) Lookman Oshodi (Arctic Infrastructure) Monika Umunna (Heinrich Böll Foundation)

“The objective is to create living spaces that accommodate the whole range of functions, needs and wishes of various target groups living with and around the lagoon. Providing housing is one of the building blocks in succeeding in this, but realizing suitable, economical stimulating and welcoming public space is as much part of that,” according to the founder/chairman, DASUDA, Robert Van Kats.

In one of its workshop, recently, the group stated: “The lagoon is much more than a water body. It is a system that works with the land and wetlands that feed the lagoon with fresh water by their natural flows. It is an ecological estuary between the salt and sweet waters.

“Interfering with this system without this awareness and care causes great harm to nature, but also to the urban conditions: rising water levels are a threat for shore areas, less fish means decreased food security, polluted water causes diseases and harms the provision of clean water through the aquifers. Seeing the lagoon as the main outstanding asset of Lagos is what has been taken as starting point for the Lagos Lab Workshop.”

Kat disclosed, “The aim of the Lagos Lab is to integrate solutions on a set of challenges centered around the Lagoon as main asset. This Lagoon City Approach starts at the lagoon as central source and has the aim to recreate the Lagoon as a vital heart of Lagos.

“This can be done by focusing on provision of new economic impact on main topics like livability, food, housing and transport. By working on steps with a strong socio-economic effect the integration of the main topics in spatial solutions for a Lagoon City can result in durable job creation.”

On the proposed Lagos City, the said: The Lagoon City first of all has to add qualities instead of being the next parasitic urban development. Adding value to a cleaner and safer water environment might be the key to create sustainable solutions for Lagos.

“The concept consists of water basins that catch various qualities of water from the main land and have filter areas to create a clean water basin. These ring dike structures are first of all located at strategic sites along the lagoon edges, where they are an addition to the shore length and create the possibility for well-serviced landings for ferries across the lagoon. With controlled regulations the ring dikes can be extended to facilitate new developments for housing and public space.

Under the project, DASUDA is looking at a 20-hectare water development, consisting of 50 houses per hectare. The major features of the development include clean water basin, ferry city connectivity, inclusive housing provision and public space livability.

For instance, the clean water basin will collect water feed in from small rivers and land drainage. “With natural helophyte filters the basin water can be cleaned and used within the basin for fish farming and surplus can overflow to the lagoon system and add to the general water quality.”

The concept includes improving mobility and connectivity of the existing citizens in neighbouring areas by creating a well serviced landing for a new system of Ferry City connections with secured parking facilities for car, bike, taxi and bus and a wide feeder route through the neighbourhood with quality public space for walking and cycling.

The housing will come as a mix of categories developed as a continuation from the existing diversity along the lagoon shores; from bedsitters three bedroom apartments and from social housing to middle class levels. By cross subsidy financing development models and objectives of mixed-use developments these new developments are aiming to be highly inclusive.

The development will also incorporate streets with lots of space for pedestrians and using the new water edges by creating parks and leisure space with playing fields, trees and shade for family picnics and beaches with safety and security for all citizens is a crucial principle of the Lagoon Basins concept.

For the group, “water is very much connected to Lagos; with its harbour as port of West Africa and the traditional fishing communities and timber activities. Still large parts of the city are with their back towards the lagoon. Waterfronts are underused and water environment is polluted. Lagos originated at the lagoon, it is in its DNA, but has to be revealed to use its undiscovered potentials to serve the emerging city at its best.”

Vat said that in the coming months, we continue to collaboratively work on the ideas developed during the workshop. “Our results will be presented once again in October 2015. Presentations in this seminar will be about implementation of the ideas and first projects developed by the DASUDA Lagos Design Lab. Aim of the seminar is to attract participants to join the project and to strengthen forces for a financial feasible project.”

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