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Planning, Anti-planning and the Infrastructure Crisis Facing Metropolitan Lagos

Matthew Gandy
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Matthew Gandy: Department of Geography, University College London, 26 Bedford Way, London, WC1 0AP, UK. m.gandy@ucl.ac.uk

Urban Studies, 2006, vol. 43, issue 2, 371-396

Abstract: Many of the 'mega cities' of the global South face an escalating crisis in the adequate provision of basic services such as water, housing and mass transit systems. Lagos-the largest city in sub-Saharan Africa-exemplifies many of these challenges but has tended to be viewed within a narrow analytical frame. In this essay, 'exceptionalist' perspectives on the African city are eschewed in favour of an analysis which frames the experience of Lagos within a wider geopolitical arena of economic instability, petro-capitalist development and regional internecine strife. An historical perspective is developed in order to reveal how structural factors operating through both the colonial and post-colonial periods have militated against any effective resolution to the city's worsening infrastructure crisis. It is concluded that a workable conception of the public realm must form an integral element in any tentative steps towards more progressive approaches to urban policy-making in the post-Abacha era and the return to civilian rule.

Date: 2006
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