Lagos, Nigeria is experiencing unprecedented growth which is triggering a whole host of problems for the city and the region. Some of the problems are normal for a rapidly expanding city but unlike other mega cities, Lagos is almost devoid of any master-planned infrastructure. For a city of 12-18 million which continues to grow (estimates indicate if will be the 3rd largest city in the world by 2020), resources such as clean water, garbage disposal and running electricity continue to frustrate residents.
Not to paint a picture of Lagos as a an overcrowded slum or shantytown but it is a city of contrasts. The city is also a city of massive wealth that is currenly constructing multiple billion dollar developments to suite the needs of it's rising middle class and wealthy residents. At the same time many wonder whether these new developments will still be plagued with the old problems of running electricity and proper drainage.
To give you and idea about how fast this city has grown, the city of Lagos only had 300,000 residents in 1950. In 2020, it is predicted to have over 23 million people within the city. Imagine Toledo, Ohio blossoming into New York City in a span of fifty years.
But the reason that I am posting about Lagos is because I am interested in how developers and government plan developments for a mega-city. Recently Slate Magazine ran a 5 article piece about Lagos about Growth with or without planning. In the article, I found these quotes about planning very interesting,
"Most places do planning before development," said Moses Ogun of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners. "Here they do development and building before they've done the planning. I call it disjointed incrementalism."
The architects of the 1998 city master plan promised to develop 28 new districts in Lagos and ease congestion, but they didn't follow through, according to Ogun. Only 15 percent of the 1985 master plan was implemented.
I wonder if any idea of a master plan has to be thrown out the window without complete tear downs of certain parts of the city to install new infrastructure and better streets (sort of like what Paris and London did in the 17th centuries to clear out slums and create grand avenues). At this point the horse has been let out of the barn but some type of planning has to be put in place just for human health and environmental conditions alone. Any thoughts...how would you solve this conundrum?