Lagos mega city project: Expert seeks public awareness

A photo of Lagos. No fewer than 30 million people will live in Lagos by 2035 turning it into the largest mega city on the African continent.

A town planning expert, Mr. Toyin Ayinde, has called for a public sensitisation programme to educate town planning stakeholders about turning Lagos into a mega city.

Ayinde made the call at the maiden edition of the annual lecture series organised by the Centre for Planning Studies of the Lagos State University in Lagos.

Ayinde, in his lecture titled “Evolution of Lagos into a Modern Megacity: The Role of Effective Stakeholders Engagement’’, said that educating stakeholders in the town planning sector was vital in efforts to fulfil the megacity vision for Lagos.

He listed the stakeholders as trainers in the town planning profession, administrators and those market people who were illiterate but informed in the business of town planning.

He stressed that Lagos had undergone several changes over the years, adding that it was well-positioned to become a megacity.

Ayinde said that to achieve the desired megacity status for Lagos, stakeholders in the town planning sector must be visionary in their approach.

According to him, being visionary should entail political, cultural and economic factors for urban space development.

Town planners must envision themselves as problem solvers and administrators who should know what to give consideration to when planning.Those in the market place too should be exposed to the values of town planning through sensitisation. Awareness creation should be taken seriously for citizens to appreciate the values of town planning, while development plans should be favourably done to cater for the interests of poor or lowest income earners in the society,’’ he said.

In attempts to also turn Lagos into “Smart City’’, Ayinde underscored the need for stakeholders to use mutual education, effective communication, identification of all interests and openness as some of the tools.

As the name suggests, town planning requires a lot of actions but we must plan the right way; from the general to the specifics, placing value on man. Human settlements are like living organisms; they grow and they also change,’’ he added.

A 3D outlook of Eko Atlantic City, in Victoria Island. This ongoing project will further boost the mega city status of Lagos

Ayinde noted that the Lagos State Government and the City of Dubai had gone into a historic partnership to create the first Smart City in Africa.

He said that for the partnership to yield the expected results, regular power supply, security of lives and property and good road network must be in place.

He, however, urged the state government to invest in people through the promotion of small-scale businesses and the provision of affordable housing and education for the citizens.

The lecture was organised in conjunction with the Lagos State Chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners.