Valuation of Public Space in Lagos

Data collection and accessibility to data is a problem. This hinders policy makers, technocrats as well as researchers. Urban planning can only be done from a place of understanding what is the present state and what has happened in the past. Data collection and assessment is vital for their job. In addition, CSOs and the private sector need data to be successful. However, it is near impossible to find adequate data or access research done both by government and non-government organisations in Nigeria.

This research aims to create the LUDI Public Space Assessment Tool that can be used both by the public and private sector to assess public projects including parks and pedestrian infrastructure. This regulatory matrix will act as a guide to ensure that the public spaces being developed are actually beneficial to the public. It will also serve as a framework on how to collect and analyse data.

Lagos’s population is estimated to be 21 million (National Population Commission of Nigeria, 2016) and 80% of trips are performed by pedestrians. This rings true because even if you are taking public transport you will need to walk to access all transport modes. However, as stated in the 2019 Lagos State Transport Policy, the quality of pedestrian facilities and sidewalks in Lagos is deteriorating and reducing accessibility. It is therefore important to make mobility easier for pedestrians so they have equal access to jobs and social activities. 

Public space has an economic, social and environmental value. It impacts our physical and mental health, it can help curb climate change and improve the economic life of urban centers. Lagos State has had a beautification program that has led to the transformation of both public and private spaces. However, there hasn’t been an assessment of how successful projects under the program or the agency, Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency, have been. To be able to prove its value for further investment, policies, educational importance, etc. there needs to be a criteria for assessment and continued data collection. We will be answering these research questions: 

What are the characteristics of good public space in Lagos? And, how is it measured (is this different to other cities)?

Is public space achieving the goals of the policies that guide the implementation of public space?

How pedestrian friendly is Lagos State? 

Is pedestrian infrastructure achieving the goals of the transport policies that guide the implementation of such?