Tech Talk: Floating Cities of the Future

When you search the most populated cities in the world, you will find Tokyo, in first place. With Japan ranked at a population of 37 million. Delhi, India; Shanghai, China; and São Paulo, Brazil in second, third and fourth place. Now; Lagos -a city located in West Africa-, Nigeria with an estimated population of anywhere between 9- 15 million, is currently ranked the 16th most populous city in the world.

With The United Nations publishing headlines reading: 68% of the world population projected to live in urban areas by 2050; & The World Economic Forum predicting a Lagos population of 24 million by 2035. The question comes to mind. What is being done to prep for a rapidly urbanizing population? No need to panic, our designers are hard at work crafting culturally appropriate solutions for an ever expanding population.

We are proud to introduce to you: Kunle Adeyemi, Founder|Principal at NLE, and the Makoko Floating School.

Kunle Adeyemi, is an Architect, designer and Urban researcher. A quick Google search will expose you to the Pan-African Architect with an understanding of urbanization and passion for Africa Centered Design.

“Whether a chair for charity in South Africa, a revolutionary rotating art space for Prada in Seoul or the visionary plan to eliminate traffic paralysis in Lagos with the 4th Mainland Bridge, in each project the essential needs of performance, value and identity – critical for success – are fundamentally the same for me. Although quantitatively different from place to place, the responsibility of achieving these needs at maximum, with minimum means, remains the same globally. I am constantly inspired by solutions we discover in everyday life in the world’s developing cities”

Kunlé Adeyemi, 2010

Kunle is 2017 Aag Khan Design Critic in Architecture at Harvard University Graduate school of Design. Previously, an Adjunct Associate Professor at Colombia Graduate School of Architecture, 2015 Gensler Visiting Critic & 2014 Baird Distinguished Visiting Critic of Cornell University, these are a just a few of his many accolades. Adekunle Adeyemi’s main focus in academia is; developing cities of the global south. His educational pursuits include a post-professional degree from Princeton University, investigating rapid urbanization, and the role of marketing economies of the global south with a concentration on Lagos, Nigeria.

Culturally Appropriate Solution: Makoko Floating School.

Lagos, Nigeria is one of the world’s fastest growing cities. It’s a beacon representing hope & opportunity, not only to Nigerians, but many West African migrants with dreams of a better life. International developers are aware of this opportunity and have began investing into projects like Eko Atlantic. Eko Atlantic is a planned city constructed on reclaimed land from the Atlantic ocean. The new land is expected to be home to at least 250,000 residents and have a daily flow of 150,000 commuters. This project is being carried out as a semi public, semi private partnership between the Lagos State Government, Federal Government, and The China Communications Construction Group. Hopefully, this project is bringing employment and training opportunities to Lagos locals.

The Eko Atlantic project is one way the future mega-city is preparing for a growing population. However; is this a culturally appropriate solution?

Lets take a dive into the Makoko Floating School.

Makoko is an informal community located in the Lagos, Lagoon. With an estimated population of 85,000, Makoko is referred to as the world’s largest floating slum. A quick glimpse of the video below till expose you to the neighborhood build on stilts that is home to a community of people ever so adjusted to life on the water, with a constant threat of eviction.

Makoko Floating school was designed specifically for the community.

Being an informal community, there is absolutely no support from the government. Therefore no public services. No public services, no schools.

Education is Freedom

Something interesting about the rapid growth in population throughout Africa the demographic of the population. Africa has a very large, young population.

Africa has a young age structure, with about 40 per cent of its population in the 0-14 age bracket and nearly one fifth (19 per cent) in the 15-24 age bracket (see table 5 and figure 12). The population pyramid for the continent for 2015 reveals the effects of high fertility manifesting itself in a population pyramid with a broad base. Every successive bar of the population pyramid is narrower, suggesting fertility levels above replacement. A higher proportion of females in the 65 and above age group is a result of the higher life expectancy at birth for women.

A critical task for the leaders of Africa today, is educating the Africans of tomorrow. Ghana has been doing a remarkable job at this with the Ghana TVET Voucher Project. Kunle Adeyemi does it again with: Makoko Floating School.

Makoko Floating School is a prototype floating structure, built for the historic water community of Makoko, located on the lagoon heart of Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos. As a pilot project, it has taken an innovative approach to address the community’s social and physical needs in view of the impact of climate change and a rapidly urbanizing African context. Its main aim is to generate sustainable, ecological, alternative building systems and urban water cultures for the teeming population of Africa’s coastal regions.

Kunle Adeyemi’s design solution is simply genius. Given limited resources and water as the environment to design for, the solution that has emerged is minimal in practical, environmentally friendly in a culturally appropriate way. A floating school for a underserved community of people who live on the water. Thus, allowing education and opportunities to those are ignored by their government. This design solution presents a design foundation for the floating city of the future. Imagine what could happen when a fleet of floating buildings, community spaces, like markets and public utilities like water and waste management is available to such a community?

Kunle and his team did not stop at their first iteration. They are currently on their fourth prototype and third iteration of the Makoko Floating School.

Makoko Floating school has brought about many awards. It is the perfect example of an African centered design.

Below are links with related information:

Cities built on water | Kunle Adeyemi | TEDxEustonSalon

Lagos Water Communites Porjcet

Makoko Research – Heinrich Böll Stiftung – 2012

Be Inspired.
remember, #WETOLDYOU

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