Lagos – After a-two-edition search for a solution to the Architectural Regeneration in Lagos, the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), Lagos chapter, has disclosed that Sterling Bank Plc has offered to pioneer the response to the regeneration exercise.
This was revealed by Fitzgerald Umah, chairman of the Lagos NIA at the just concluded 11 edition of the Lagos Architects Forum (LAF 10. 0), which held at Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos with the theme: Architectural Regeneration 2: The Lagos Response.
Umah noted that they had gotten the needed solution based on materials from the design solution, hence have come to the end of the Lagos Response as it concerns regeneration because Sterling Bank Alternative Finance is ready to ensure that the solutions proffered would be implemented.
According to Umah, the theme of LAF 10.0 was targeted at renewing the processes and systems in which built environment endeavours are being conducted in the light of present day realities. He noted that, it will devise new ways of running practices, stakeholders’ benefits engagement and adaptation to local economies.
“It highlighted contemporary issues including, The Matrix Relevance; value and positioning for architecture; urban regeneration and new opportunities; succession planning; architecture and social advocacy; global outlook of recession and the business of building, rethinking going global.
“Others include: the changing roles of the internet, new directions for building materials’ technology; and a host of others. There were life case studies of successful business models, project and thought leadership as well as interaction with renowned scholars.”
Gbolahan Lawal, the Lagos Commissioner for Housing, who represented the state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode noted that the state government is poised to providing enabling environment for professionalism to thrive while stretching its arms of partnership to the private sector in the development of the state.
He, therefore, urged architects to work with other professionals in the built environment to find a lasting solution to the menace of incessant building collapses in the state.
On the sideline, Gbolahan advised that the Lagos NIA should give priority to the location of the affordable houses that they were designing as sometimes, the location of places of abode could make a nonsense of its affordability.
“If you are going to move from the fringes of Lagos to the city centre and it is going to take you like four hours and the cost of even moving is around 30 per cent of your income and you are saying that you are building affordable housing, add that 30 per cent to 33 per cent of the cost of the house itself, you have over 60 per cent; what is the disposable income that is left. You have to pay school fees.
“So, in your design you should always consider where you are going to locate the houses. In the Ministry of Housing, we have done a lot in this wise. The BRT buses that we have today, from Ikorodu to Marina, is related to affordable housing. That is what we are promoting at the Ministry of Housing and I want you to consider that.”
Dipo Ajayi, president of Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON) used the opportunity to pass a message across to the Lagos State government that some areas in Lagos are due for regeneration, imploring them to exert the political will to ensure that the regeneration takes place as they cannot afford to have such places in a Nigerian city.
Medinat Ali, a representative of Sterling Alternative Finance remarked that based on their philosophy of Innovation, equity, and most importantly, partnership, they discovered that the most basic need of humans was housing and then decided to focus on it.
According to Ali, it is important to note that to provide affordable housing, they cannot afford to use depositors funds because those funds are meant to yield income and returns for depositors and that affordable housing requires very cheap funds.
“We are using affordable finance to provide decent housing for the low and medium income earners like the ones that live in Makoko, Maroko, Ijora Badia and most often than not, they are the ones forgotten, underbanked and unbanked.
“So, finding partnership solutions that can solve these problems is what we are committed to, and that is what took us to NIA to try and work with them to design a sustainable, efficient and affordable solution to housing.”
For Ifonima Essien, a former resources centre administrator with the Oxford Brookes University, the Lagos response should start with the regeneration of the mind, followed by adaptation. Success, he said, begins with failure.