Lagos/ Nigeria:
From everyday practices
towards practical-normative
urban planning

Summer Semester 22
Urban Design Studio
12,5 ECTS + 5 ECTS (optional) Fabienne Hoelzel i.V. Lisa Dautel


Fieldtrip to Lagos and DAAD Spring School in Lagos: Oct 4-11
(travel grants available)

Midterms: Dec 22

Finals: Feb 23

University of Lagos, Department of Architecture

Heinrich Böll Foundation Abuja

Please do register as soon as possible w/ Ute Vees,

Lagos is a megacity like no other. Not so much because it is predicted to become the world’s most populous city ¬– with approximately 80 million inhabitants in 2100 (Hoornweg and Pope, 2016) – but rather because Lagos has nothing that is really public.

There’s no crystal ball, nevertheless, it is likely to say that Lagos will never have (functioning) centralized services. Classic urban planning and classic developmentalism call for large-scale infrastructure and centrally organized urban services. The logic, followed by the UN and development banks establishes a strong link between well-functioning and accessible infrastructure on the one hand and development and prosperity on the other hand. Not in Lagos. Even though the already big West African metropolis has almost no public infrastructure and services, it has become Africa’s top startup ecosystem (Technext, 2021), for instance. On the micro-scale, residents thrive by giving resourceful responses to the conditions of partly extreme vulnerability (Harrison, 2006). As a result, and despite of the lack of an effective and efficient central government, the city functions quite well.

The urban design studio “Lagos/ Nigeria: From everyday practices towards practical-normative urban planning approaches” in the summer semester 2022 will study the success of Lagosians in constructing lives at a micro-scale first. The everyday practice of five to ten residents from various communities in Lagos will be scrutinized in detail, implemented as DAAD-funded Fall School in collaboration with the University of Lagos, Department of Architecture. The methodologies include interviews, critical and ethnographic mapping, photography and filming. Preliminary to the field work in Lagos, the students will establish a deeper understanding of topics like food, water, shelter, health, movement, etc. Back in Stuttgart, the everyday practices will be processed, documented and systemized (midterms with external guests). The collection of everyday practices will be the base for the development of a different approach to urban planning that can be summarized as a shift from technical-instrumental urban planning approaches towards practical-normative urban planning approaches (Harrison, 2006).

In a joint group work, the students will develop a mission statement and an idea book for making cities in Sub-Saharan Africa, using the example of Lagos and rooted in today’s everyday practices. The semester output concludes with a presentation in Stuttgart with external guests (finals).

(Images: Fabienne Hoelzel)