Makoko/Iwaya Waterfront Regeneration Plan

LOCATION: Lagos, Nigeria

SUMMARY: The Makoko/Iwaya Waterfront Restoration Plan, submitted by Lookman Oshodi of Urban Spaces Innovation in Lagos, Nigeria on behalf of the Makoko/Iwaya Working Group, is a comprehensive master plan for the Makoko/Iwaya community that seeks to preserve local culture, revitalize the built environment with elegant, low-cost housing, increase economic opportunities, and ensure disaster resilience for over 40,000 residents. Its design and implementation hinges on rigorous and deeply inspiring community planning alliances and the buy in of key stakeholders—from local elders, women, and youth to academic institutions, professional organizations, and NGOs. The plan holds the preservation of traditional lagoon-front culture as a core value, presenting a compelling vision of a floating economy based on components such as sustainable aquaculture and tourism. Not only is the master plan hugely ambitious, but it is particularly compelling as a potential adaptive trim tab for other informal settlements across the globe threatened by forced evictions, climate instability, and the public health disasters that follow from a systemic lack of social amenities.

From the Project Team:

“In developing countries, urbanization is fast spreading through many communities. The spread, in most cases, is characterized by proliferation of slums and informal settlements which is imposing enormous challenges on the capacities and capabilities of policy makers to manage the emerging urbanization trend. In response to these urban forms and structures, policy makers in developing countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, have adopted forced evictions and demolition of settlements as key strategies of managing the growing urban challenges. These practices have continued to threaten democratic principles, increased the number of internally displaced persons, recycling of inequality and providing strong bases for civil strife in many Sub-Saharan Africa urban centers. Lagos, Nigeria is a city where forced evictions and demolition of homes has been adopted by the relevant authorities as the progress of the city. Communities such as Makoko/Iwaya Waterfront community are under constant threat of demolition. Halting of July 2012’s demolition exercise in the community by the Lagos State Government, after public outrage and protest, presented a robust platform for the preparation of Makoko/Iwaya Waterfront Regeneration Plan to propose alternative development agenda for the community and possible template for engaging other informal settlements in Lagos State.

Makoko/Iwaya Waterfront Regeneration Plan is the product of a community-led and people-centered development model guided by five key principles: Community participation, ancestral and historical preservation, community development, tourism and economic development, sustainability and resilience. It is a plan that is intervening in Makoko/Iwaya Waterfront community with a view to changing the risk status of the community to a prosperous, functional and livable community in Lagos. Makoko/Iwaya Waterfront community is a lagoon front district located at the central fringe of Lagos city. It is one of the largest low-income communities and among the forty-two blighted communities identified in 1993 by the Lagos State Government. It is a settlement established in the 19th century, comprising mostly of Eguns, Ilajes, Ijaws and Yorubas. These communities have co-existed in a peaceful manner and contributed to the economic development of Lagos State through the supply of fresh aquatic products, payment of statutory charges and provision of labor for the upliftment of the marine sector. The regeneration plan seeks to revitalize the community by outlining measures, tools and processes to guide the stakeholders in evolving a community that will inspire and encourage visitor expenditures and capital investment in infrastructure provision and employment generation.”

UPDATE (2017): Since preparation and submission to the Lagos State Government, the plan has attracted different investors both locally and internationally. Currently, the Makoko/Iwaya Primary Healthcare Project is being implemented with focus on Primary Healthcare Center and Community Health Centers as provided in the plan.

The healthcare project, initiated by SUPPORT SWITZERLAND in partnership with Arctic Infrastructure based in Lagos is already delivering services to the community through the Health Champions and Traditional Birth Attendants while efforts are on-going with the state and local authorities to ensure ensure the starting of the Primary Healthcare Center. Further information on the healthcare project can be obtained from, and

Another project that is on-going is the construction of the neighborhood hotspot.

CONTACT: [email protected]