Makoko: A Model for a Culturally Sensitive Urban Renewal in Lagos

By Rosemary Okoli.

Published by Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Adversity is said to be the mother of invention but what happens when the road to invention imports hasty solutions? The effects of modernism and globalization, particularly in developing countries have been major topics of discussion for the past decade. This paper attempts to understand and identify the factors that have led to the growth of slums in Lagos, Nigeria, critically analyzing the role modernization has played in the urbanization of the city. It goes further to suggest a new approach towards urban renewal and planning for the urban poor in Lagos. The Makoko riverine slum on the Lagos Lagoon, serves as a point of reference for this analysis, making use of data gathered from field study, interviews and literary text. An identified shortcoming of the approaches generally employed in planning for the urban poor is that they primarily overlook the low economic capacity of the people. These initiatives pretentiously seek to beautify the city by replacing slums with more contemporary “modern” structures which are beyond the economic reach of the poor. There is therefore a call to rethink the notion that slums are worthless entities. Urban renewal in Lagos is invoked to critically consider the economic capacity of slums in developing urban planning solutions. It should seek to rejuvenate slum settlements by identifying and promoting the economic potentials within the community in order to create a more diverse, vibrant community.

Keywords: Theme: Urban and Extraurban Spaces, Urban Renewal, Modernism, Makoko, Lagos, Slums, Economy

Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp.135-150. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 14.939MB).

Rosemary Okoli

Graduate Student, Department of Architecture and Interior Design, School of Fine Arts, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, USA

Rosemary Okoli grew up in Lagos, Nigeria. She got her Bachelors of Science degree in Architecture from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana. She interned at Lawson+Odeinde Partnership, Lagos for two summers while in her undergraduate program and later for Amborg Global Resources, Abuja, Nigeria, as an architect’s assistant after completing her undergraduate program. After a year at the firm, with a zeal to become an independent architect, she enrolled for the Masters of Architecture program at Miami University. She was awarded a graduate assistantship position upon admission and is enrolled as a student staff of the university. She is currently in the final year of the program and has had a significant amount of experience in the field, most notably is the recent completion of a 7-bedroom residence which she designed. She loves to travel and experience new environments, learning from them and allowing her exposure direct and influence her architectural principles, particularly with respect to her local context.