NITP 2nd VP, Ayinde Urges Bottom-Up Approach For Integrated Urban Development Initiatives
Lagos – For an achievable and effective integrated urban development initiative, governments at all levels must ensure an intensive engagement with the stakeholders, using bottom-up approach rule.
Lack of this, has been given as one of the reasons why Lagos seems to lack coherent and integrated urban development approach.
Former Commissioner for Physical Planning in Lagos State, Mr. Toyin Ayinde, a Town Planner, made this disclosure last week during the annual lecture series organized by the Lagos State University, Ojo in conjunction with the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, Lagos State chapter, at the 3-in-1 Lecture Hall, LASU, where he was the guest speaker.
Themed: “Evolution of Lagos into a Modern Megacity: The Role of Effective Stakeholder Engagement, the town planner indicated that all efforts at developing the city of Lagos, or any other city for that matter, were based on the concern for man, hence, if all planning is about man, then the development that follows must also be about man.
In his observance, Ayinde discovered that Lagos is a city that seems to tell conflicting stories of the good, the bad and the ugly.
Statistics, he said, suggests that about 70 per cent of the population of Lagos live in slum, a reality that calls for concern, considering the investment statutes, laws and regulations.
“Several regeneration/redevelopment plans have been prepared, but the will to faithfully commit to them is very weak. Unfortunately, things don’t suddenly change for the better with a ‘do nothing’ approach; neither do they change through prayer and fasting only. Government has not demonstrated committed leadership to tackle the challenge of reversing the trend of development in slums by recognizing value, and not disdain, for the life of slum dwellers and seeking to restore that value. Responsible governance must be demonstrated going forward.
“As with many other laws, the laws concerning the development of the Lagos Mega City are either unimplemented or they are only partially implemented. Often times, while those laws remain unimplemented, untried and untested to discover the lacunae, we begin to clamour for an amendment, a review or a totally new formulation. A ship, no matter how beautifully or technically designed and built, if it remains at the dock, cannot be passed as efficient. The ship must sail in order to be tested for functionality and efficiency, and it would take patience and commitment to get the assessment needed for further adjustments, if needed. So must our laws be if we will get the right results.”
The former Commissioner remarked that several development plans and schemes have been prepared, but sadly, the physically built-up areas do not show results of the financial investment and professional efforts committed to those plans. The reasons, he disclosed, are not far fetched:
Among them, he noted that planning was abandoned for a lengthy period, especially in the military era, and when the country finally woke up to it, she chose to work it upside down; instead of going from the general to the specific, she chose to go for the pieces of the general.
Secondly, he noted that the lower order plans meant to follow the Master plan she has invested so much in, have not been prepared; making the day-to-day use of the planning instrument difficult.
“What happens then is application of the rule of the thumb and deference to individual whims and caprices. The Master Plans must be brought to the lowest scale of Neighbourhood Development Plan where the average citizen can locate his own premises, and is then in a position to defend not only his own premises but the immediate (neighbouring) environment that may impact his own premises, because it is only at that level that the citizen can easily relate with, and take ownership of his environment.
“To achieve the desired sustainable and inclusive development, Lagos governance must adopt a people-centered approach in undertaking urban planning. Moving toward people-centered urban planning requires a restructuring of policymaking process and a restructuring of jurisdictional responsibility in physical planning and development. A dynamic process must evolve where governments will have to transform from regulating and approving institutions to bodies that enable and collaborate with citizens to respond to their needs (ITF Master Class, 2014).”
Finally, he advised that the headmaster-pupil relationship must be buried so that a new relationship of partners may emerge.
The former Lagos State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure in Lagos State, Mr. Femi Hamzat represented the chairman of the occasion and Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola.
Hamzat who revealed that the only difference between the third and developed worlds is technology and rule of law, also admitted that planning a city is tough, as a result-oriented stakeholders meetings should be paramount.
He said: “We are all resistant to change, nobody wants a change. But that change is necessary for a better future.”