The multi-billion dollar, mega city project embarked upon by the Lagos State project, Eko Atlantic, has received yet another international recognition, this time on the innovation page of the MSN webpage under an article titled, “Building Mega-Cities: Could Africa Lead The Way?”
Here are the relevant excerpts from the article:
“From the Konza technopolis outside Nairobi, to King City near the emerging port of Takoradi, Ghana, through the luxurious Eko Atlantic on Victoria Island in Lagos, these urban projects are designed to offer high-quality services and modern infrastructure.”
Lagos is in a similar situation to Cairo, and is already rapidly evolving away from its slum-town image. Professor Johnson Bade Falade, Habitat Program Manager for Nigeria, told CNN that a number of socio-economic factors have led to Lagos experiencing an ‘astronomical growth’ and “At the time Lagos was growing there wasn’t too much importance attached to physical planning,’ he explains. ‘We were left with the kinds of challenges that cities are growing, planning is not complete.”
The Eko Atlantic development in Lagos is a sign of things to come. This impressive residential business and development is being built primarily to protect Victoria Island from coastal erosion and the threat of flooding. This three-and-a-half square miles of land is based on Manhattan, and is expected to provide accommodation for 250,000 people and employment opportunities for a further 150,000.
“This is a city for the 21st century, we are not using an old model,” says David Frame, managing director of Eko Atlantic. “We are finding ways and means to produce a city that will reach international standards.”
To this end Lagos has launched new rapid transit bus systems, reliable urban railways, and a fleet of new garbage trucks to prevent the new area descending into squalor. “We have a lot of opportunity for recreational facilities as well as providing a core business centre and a good place to live right on the coast of Lagos,” says Eko Atlantic’s Frame.
Not everyone feels as optimistic about the project though. Here’s what Felix Morka, the director of the Social and Economic Rights Action Center in Lagos, said to Alexis Okeowo, a reporter from The New Yorker: “The Lagos State government has perpetrated a lot of human-rights abuses in urban slums, forcibly evicting communities without any warning or planning and without any remedy, settlement, or compensation, in their effort to develop the city.”