The fundamental conundrum of Lagos, considered as both paradigm and pathological extreme of the West African city, is its continued existence and productivity in spite of a near-complete absence of those infrastructures, systems, organizations, and amenities that define the word “city” in terms of Western planning methodology. Lagos, as an icon of West African urbanity, inverts every essential characteristic of the so-called modern city. Yet, it is still—for lack of a better word—a city; and one that works.
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