Learning from Lagos: A City of New Meaning

From everyday encounters to planning considerations, Kingsley Iweka shares his reflections on the city of Lagos drawing from recent conversations at the Heinrich Boll and Nsibidi Institute’s Open City Lagos Brainstorming Brunch held in April 2015. As one of the project’s shortlisted candidates, he speaks within his personal capacity as a writer coming to terms with how the city accommodates the subjects of his prose.

In war terminology, ‘Open City’ refers to forsaking all defensive efforts by a city’s government or military in the face of imminent capture. Declaring a city ‘open’ during war often saves civilian lives and preserves historic landmarks.

I have always regarded Lagos as an open city in the light of its vibrancy and energy, the resilience of its residents and the unending transformation and revelation of itself to all those who are connected to it. Thinking on the city with others – developers of the project, fellow shortlisted candidates and other interested stakeholders who are also connected to this city in different ways – at the Open City Lagos Brainstorming Brunch brought me closer to existing realities of this city. It was a rare moment in which I became more aware of how this city continues to accommodate non-indigenes (even international migrants and populations) and enable them to contribute and benefit from the city’s economic, political and social success. Lagos belongs to nobody. Lagos belongs to everybody....

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