Planners seek new master plan to resolve Lagos urban shocks
They stated that authorities need to fine-tune existing plans towards addressing critical environmental challenges, opening investment spaces and resolve the city’s urban shocks. The experts argued that cities are shaped through real estate development, sound public policy, urban designs through a workable masterplan, tourism and culture, an enabling environment for ease of doing business and the political will for policymakers to implement existing city plans.
A professor of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Lagos, Leke Oduwaye while speaking during a panel discussion organised by the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) Lagos chapter, said that the physical planning structure of the state is so obscured and weak that it has become difficult for the government economic plan to work effectively with the various masters plan designed for the city development.
Oduwaye said a well-coordinated physical plan could address perennial flooding, traffic congestion and improve the quality of life for the people.
“The state is very weak structurally. According to statistics, seven per cent of the state is swampy and it is weak in terms of the capacity to generate resources that could be used to develop the space. The planning content is obscure.
“ There is a need to rebrand Lagos and bring out the most compelling things that would make it attractive like culture and tourism, urban regeneration and improving the quality of slums. Lagos should be made competitive in terms of the time it takes in the processing of business documents compared to other cities.”
He said although, there are plans but those they need people to implement them to improve the quality of life of the residents who don’t have other places to go.
Former director, Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority, Hakeem Badejo in his contribution advised the government to commit more funds to revitalization of decaying state of roads which he observed are filled with potholes. He lamented that none of the roads in the state could last for 40 years.
On how to overcome the city’s challenges, he advanced a multimodal/integrated transport infrastructure for the city, channelization of rivers for boats to link the city’s centres and improve rail linkage to the domestic and international airport. He called for the enhancement of the security situation in the country as lack of jobs and insecurity are making many Nigerians seek greener pastures in other countries.
“The 180km coastline lying fallow should be utilized. There should improve free bus transportation while the Lagos transport master plan must be implemented.”
Speaking on, prospects, challenges and opportunities for Lagos residents, the state’s NITP chairman, Bisi Adedire stated that the role of town planners in the physical and economic development of the state and the country cannot be over emphasized essentially in making Lagos a 21st-century economy.
He emphasized that the ease of doing business in the state must be improved upon beginning with the ease of obtaining planning permission in the state.
On his part, the Managing Director, Planet Projects Limited, Abiodun Otunola who identified about 42 traffic bottlenecks in Lagos as the main cause of the worsening gridlock, challenged town planners to develop a solution-driven master plan design for effective traffic management.
According to him, there was a need for the government to continuously earmark high budget provision to fix the potholes on the roads and improve the general physical outlook of the city centres.
While x-raying investment profiles in the state, he disclosed that there are a lot of viable opportunities in travel and commerce and rail transportation for the private sector.
“We don’t have transport planners in the country. Town planners should help to solve the transportation problem in the country.”