Urban Planning Processes in Lagos

Urban Planning Processes in Lagos

February 12, 2016
Place of Publication: Nigeria
Date of Publication: 2016
Number of Pages: 228
License: CC-BY-SA

Residents in Lagos are often stunned by developments in their city: new residential estates are springing up without tarred access roads and appropriate drainage canals for flood water. Riverine areas along the lagoon used as fishing ground for the local communities are converted into tank farms attracting hundreds of tankers crossing residential areas. The Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development  has developed model city plans for all the local government areas in Lagos, but they are all too often ignored by economic and political interests. Instead, projects with immense negative social, ecological and economic consequences are imposed on residents and business owners. This study had a closer look at the areas of, housing, slums and informal settlements, urban mobility and transportation, solid waste management and urban mega projects to examine the existing laws, instruments and policies and how they have been applied to the four analyzed case studies. For example the research teams discovered that the development plan for the Lekki Free Zone was designed by the Chinese investors based on Chinese urban planning laws before it was later included into the existing Lekki master plan.  Another example is the slum regeneration process in Olaleye-Iponri community implemented in two phases. Yet, 31 years after the commencement, there has been no significant improvement for the community. A few housing units have recently been completed and are now sold to prices which are not affordable for the original residents. All the case study reports vigorously ask for the revival of the local government administrations in Lagos which have been sidelined over the recent years for several reasons. The current top-down and ad-hoc approach will most likely fail in providing much needed infrastructure and a livable environment  in times of a global increase in the influx into the cities.


The issue of effective waste

The issue of effective waste management in Lagos is still at rudimental level, personally I thought by now 2016 Lagos would have gotten it right on the issues of effective waste storage, collection, transportation treatment and disposal. It's close to 40 years since the creation of Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), precisly it is 39 years old now. It is also 20 years now since the recognition of the Private Sector Participants in solid waste management in Lagos state. Even though the activities of the private sector in solid waste management in Lagos state is more that 20 years but it was in 1996/1997 that the state government recognized the formal private sector through a Pilot Scheme on Waste Management in Somolu and Kosofe local government areas. Unfortunately while there were sucess stories about waste management in Lagos in recent past ( of which I had also written personally and presented at both local and international fora) it seems it is difficult to maintain or sustain the gains achieved most especially in the areas of waste collection, transportation and disposal. To encourage waste storage and containerization, the immediate past government in the state bought and distributed standardized waste bins to tenements in Lagos state. The issue of cost recovery for waste services is still a major task yet to be surmounted by the various administrations. Unfortunately, effective cost recovery is sine qua non to the sustenance of effective service delivery. While some tenements are willing to pay without coercion, majority will wait until there is a subtitle enforcement. Unfortunately the successive administrations has been shying away from enforcing the laws. I will like to state here categorically, that there are enough legislations in the books regulating the sub-sector but the enforcement of these laws are usually the problems.

I hope that the issues of effective waste management is tackled head-on by the government perfecting waste storage, collection, transportation, treatment (including recycling and various waste conversion activities) and effective disposal facilities. The major stakeholders should be carried along by government in revamping this sector, for instance the waste generators and the private sector who have invested several billions of Naira in the industry should be involved. Other stakeholders like the academia, the financial institutions both local and international, the local and international NGOs and donor agencies should also be carried along too.

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