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Planned cities: The future of Nigerian communities

The 2020 World Cities Report released by the United Nations on The Value of Sustainable Urbanization shows that well-planned, well-managed, and well-financed cities have intrinsic value that must be harnessed for the benefit of all. The report affirmed that such cities have the resilience needed to combat poverty, unemployment, climate change, inequality, and other global challenges. More so, these cities can bounce back quickly from the devastating effect of pandemics and improve the quality of life.

Furthermore, a United Nations Chronicle affirms that cities that are well planned, managed, and financed are a necessity if the world will achieve economic and socially equitable growth which does not endanger the environment. This is because they are usually designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, minimise water and energy consumption, curb pollution, and more.

All around the world, countries are designing and developing planned cities, and Nigeria is no exception. In 2006, Eko Atlantic City became the first-ever environmentally friendly city, being built in Lagos, Nigeria. The city has planning regulations that require developers within the city to build structures that meet the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) Green Edge Standard. These regulations and requirements have made Eko Atlantic City one of the first cities fitted for sustainable urbanization in Africa.

Designed with sustainability in mind, the city is made to withstand the onslaught of natural disasters in the future. Interestingly, its resilience has been tested and proven over the years, as it remains resistant to the flooding issues that plague Lagos, despite its location and proximity to water. While there have been reports of cars being submerged in water, buildings collapsing, and lives being endangered in other parts of Lagos and Nigeria due to the flash floods, Eko Atlantic City which shares a border with the Atlantic Ocean continues to stay high and dry, all thanks to its 30km long stormwater drainage and interconnected drainage networks.

Read Also: ‘Our vision as a company is to develop at least 20percent of Eko Atlantic City’

Additionally, the city’s green approach has contributed to the reduction of greenhouse gases emissions. The city is fitted with LED streetlights in place of regular Sodium streetlights to reduce energy consumption. The city’s streets are lined with trees to ensure the absorption of carbon gases released by vehicles. The combination of these initiatives plays a significant role in curbing global warming and the resultant climate change, which is a priority for all countries, especially the nations who are members of the United Nations.

There are predictions that should climate change persist there will be increased occurrences of flooding in cities coupled with landslides, extreme weather, and other natural disasters across the globe. This will lead to homes, businesses, and lives being endangered with the poorest and most marginalised being most vulnerable. If this impending reality will be averted and communities preserved for many generations to come, more cities like Eko Atlantic city will have to be built. However, for these cities to be built they must all adopt Eko Atlantic’s funding blueprint.

Many industries and facets of the Nigerian ecosystem have been affected by the insufficient funding endemic. Eko Atlantic City has, however, has not fallen victim to this problem because it is 100 percent privately funded. Visionary investors, who have partnered with equally visionary real estate companies, have made the development of Nigeria’s first green city possible.

Since smart cities are evidently the future, the number of inhabitants of these cities are bound to skyrocket. Years ago, we at Arkland Group, made the decision to move into the Eko Atlantic space as pioneers, becoming the first purely indigenous company to build towers there, and going on to build two towers. Subsequently, other indigenous companies have continued to build structures and fill the pending gaps in the city, and it is our hope that there will be more foresighted investors who join us in preserving the future Nigerian communities through planned cities.

Olumodimu is the GMD, Arkland Group

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