ACRC Develops Multi-sectoral Solutions for Safer, More Resilient Lagos

ACRC Develops Multi-sectoral Solutions for Safer, More Resilient Lagos

Bennett Oghifo

The African Cities Research Consortium (ACRC) have evolved research-based multi-sectoral solutions to resolve the multi-dimensional challenges experienced by the residents of Lagos to make the state safer and more resilient.

These research solutions were presented to stakeholders at a workshop by ACRC, organised in Lagos by Centre for Housing and Sustainable Development, University of Lagos and funded by Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

The orgnisers said Lagos was selected as one of the case study cities for the African Cities Research Consortium (ACRC) Project which is funded by the FCDO. 

ACRC is a multi-city project which presents an opportunity for researchers and practitioners to work together to achieve a shared understanding of the political economy of African cities in order to identify and address the critical challenges the cities are facing. 

According to Prof Taibat Lawanson, City Lead, ACRC Lagos, 

ACRC is a city-based research looking at the different problems and challenges of urban life and thinking about the political impact and influences that are determining those problems.

She said beyond that is to think about solutions that work for everybody, across communities, business sectors, government and civil society.

“What we have been doing over the last nine months is doing the research, finding the problems, thinking through the solutions,” stating that the findings were being presented to critical stakeholders in the four domains where they are working, including housing, safety and security, structural transformation and neighbourhood and district economic development. 

“We are having the stakeholders think about the interventions that we have come up with and looking at the feasibility and viability and how it can be implemented to make Lagos a better experience for the citizens.

“Our aim is to generate insights and evidence that will help improve the living conditions, services and life chances of all city residents, particularly for disadvantaged communities. In Lagos, the domains of interest are Structural Transformation, Safety and Security, Neighbourhood and Economic District Development and Housing. 

“City systems being interrogated are transportation, healthcare, education, waste management, energy, water and sanitation as well as food distribution, Finance, ICT And Law and order. 

“This workshop is an opportunity for an interaction between ACRC Lagos and the key strategic stakeholders relevant to the four domains of interest from relevant government officials, business community, civil society actors, as well as members of local communities. Through this interaction, we hope to finetune our intersectoral understanding of Lagos, identify gaps in policy and practice, and collaboratively advance pragmatic approaches to bridging these gaps.” 

According to the Housing Domain Lead, Dr. Basirat Oyalowo, “One single policy cannot solve the housing problem in Lagos, because the needs are very heterogeneous, so the solutions must also cut across the needs.”

She said the solutions must be connected “to ensure that we have policies that respond to people and are also realistic,” stating that their research found there are inadequate new-built, affordable and decent houses for Lagos residents, especially the low income people.

Existing buildings, the research found, are substandard, having been built by individual landlords within their means. According to her, they are encouraging larger actors to move in to provide better housing, “particularly those that are already active in the state like cooperative societies, faith-based organisations and other types of social entrepreneurs who can target the housing needs of their people and provide housing for them, but they can’t do it alone, they also need the support of government.”

She recommended housing cooperative societies, especially those supporting eco-friendly developments, stating that slum upgrade should not necessarily involve the demolition of informal housing. 

“Care must be taken to ensure that the housing rights of people are safeguarded. If there has to be demolition, it should be done in a safe, equitable way with enough safeguard for those that are in that space, especially if it is a government promoted intervention,” she said.

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