Lagos

Rem Koolhaas | The Harvard Project on the City

First published in "Mutations", 2000
Materials © 2016 OMA / Presidents and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved.

Developed with Pierre Belanger, Chuihua Judy Chung, Joshua Comaroff, Michael Cosmas, Sonal Gandhi, A. David Hamilton, Lan-ying Ip, Jeannie Kim, Gullivar Shepard, Reshma Singh, Nathaniel Slayton, James Stone and Sameh Wahba.

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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[1] Hecht & M. Simone, Invisible Governance; The Art of African Micropolitics (NY: Autonomedia, 1994, pp. 83).
[2] P. O. Ohadike, “Urbanization: The Case of Lagos”, Urban Affairs Quarterly, vol. 3, no. 4, June, 1968, pp. 72.
[3] M.G. Yakubu, Land Law in Nigeria (London: Macmillan, 1985).
[4] Perils of the Onitsha Expressway,” in The Vanguard, Lagos, 9/1/99.