HIGHLIGHTS OF THE EVENT
The Event brought together Architects, Urban Planners, Artists, Computer Scientists, University Students and many other people interested in exploring the possibilities of introducing the smart city concept into Lagos.
The program kicked off with an introduction by Olamide Udoma-Ejorh, Founder Lagos Urban Network, who welcomed the audience to their seats and spoke briefly about how the program would run for the day. She then introduced Monica, Program Manager Heinrich Bolls Foundation. Monica related the interests of the HBF in Lagos and the role they would be playing in the smart city endeavor. However, she admonished the participants of the workshop to ensure that the concepts that they would develop appeals to Yaba, considering its history and its people.
In order to expose the depths and Etymology of the word ‘smart’, Arc. Stephen Ajadi, Executive Director AACID, made a visual presentation which he themed; ‘smart or stupid’. He was able to explain to the audience that there is a degree of ‘smartness’ in every community and that in his perspective, ‘smartness’ is relative and not exclusive. He further discussed on the tyranny of digitization, a concept many people consider to be ‘smartness’. This tyranny then causes a dysfunctional relationship between what people are used to doing and what they should be doing. Some smart concepts that highlight this issue were discussed, such as, the Uber App, Street Hawking and the use of modern ICT in Religion. Finally, Arc Stephen then presented some of his designs that could be considered as smart intrinsically.
The next phase of the event saw participants assemble into three groups, namely; Culture, Mobility, and Economy. Each group was coordinated by one Workshop Facilitator. The Culture group was coordinated by Ore Disu, Executive Director Nsibidi Institue, Economy group by Aramide Akinosho, Principal Architect FA-A Designs and finally, the Mobility group by Damilola Teidi, CEO/Founder GoMYWay.Round-table session from the group on smart economy
From the Group on Smart Culture
Facilitator: Ore Disu
Ore introduced the concept of Smart Culture to the group and then defined it in terms of creating more efficient systems by which people carry out their activities. However, she stated that there is no singular, universally accepted definition of the smart culture concept. She then introduced the group to three approaches that may be used to analyze a smart culture. Firstly, the historical approach, which considers the social engineering done by master planning of spaces in the 19th Century. Next, the context of Sustainable Development and lastly a demographic Evaluation Method (carried out in Downtown Areas of the USA, such as Detroit).
Ore then explained how the city and culture interact, citing specific examples such as the Hello Austin Project.
The Group was then divided into two smaller groups to analyze two distinct regions in Yaba, The University of Lagos Campus and the New Tejuosho Market. Behavioral or cultural features of these sites were outlined and juxtaposed against challenges to these features. By means of this, a wide range of opportunities and solutions was created, thus giving rise to three main concepts.
- Street Art: A smart culture concept, born out of the knowledge (or lack of it), people have about the existing artworks around them and the ‘unknown’ or ‘underused’ spaces in the community. These two elements can be used to promote the cultural values of the community as well as heritage sites.
- Sound Mapping: This concept was proposed after analysis of the Tejuosho market space revealed the chaotic approach people had to inviting potential customers to their stores. Sound mapping thus brings new life to empty market stalls and reveals market routes.
- Social Media Security Alert Systems: This concept is derived from combining the abundance of social media presence and the challenge of security in the campus of the University of Lagos.
From the Group on Smart Economy
Facilitator: Aramide Akinosho
This group started the discussion by analyzing why the traditional concept of a smart city cannot be applied in the context of Lagos. By means of that they discovered two main reasons;
- A smart city involves the enhancement of a system that is already functional
- It relies on full transparency/ while corruption relies fully on cultivating “grey areas”
These problems then raised the challenge of the concept of ‘smartness’ can be incorporated despite the fact that the city may not respond well to it. The proposed alternative was to focus on smart people as opposed to smart cities. This alternative would hence involve the following;
- Studying the People
- Analyzing existing initiatives
- Understanding its relevance
- Enhancing the performance of the initiative
- Giving legitimacy to it
Further, it was discerned that ADAPTABILITY was key to creating a smart economy. One very good paradigm of a smart economic model is the circular economy. This was discussed under three headings which formed the basis for smart city concepts:
- The Market:
By looking at the contra example of what has been done recently at Tejuosho Market, what are the lessons learnt from this failure? Neighborhood Markets grow at different strategic points of the city. If they are there and successful there is reason for that.
- The Hawkers:
As a smart and mobile economy, how could we take advantage of this element seen as generator of disorder?
- The Waste:
An economy based on waste would be the most direct implementation of the circular economy. While plastics bottles, plastic bags keep proliferating what could be the new usages of those material? How could the gutter system be designed to absorb the permanent littering?
From the Group on Smart Economy
Facilitator: Damilola Teidi
The methodology employed by this group involved initially identifying the existing problems around mobility in Yaba. The already identified problems then led the session into an interesting conversation amongst the group. Key insights and viewpoints were gotten from architects and urban planners in the group, yet, everyone made contributions.
Next, the group categorized the key problems under three (3) main areas; pedestrians, public transportation and private cars. Furthermore, members of the group were able to give suggestions/ solutions using specific cases in the Yaba environment.
Their solutions were presented to all participants of the workshop.
- Pedestrians: To create super-blocks with internal road networks strictly for pedestrians
- Public Transportation: Replacing median on Herbert Macaulay Road with a tram and creating a regulated framework for ‘Danfo’ buses.
- Private Cars: Introducing Park & Ride options for commuters and a congestion charge for those who do not Park & Ride.