By Kingsley Adegboye
It has become more apparent that we need to preserve our communities through a culture of sustainable development. Countries worldwide are planning and developing new cities to solve urbanisation’s environmental challenges.
These cities are designed to adopt the green city concept by reducing greenhouse emissions, while minimising water and energy consumption.
The World Cities Report 2020 by the United Nations (UN) says that well-planned, well-managed, and well-financed cities create more values beyond economic and commercial gratification. These cities afford residents more job opportunities and create more wealth while combating climate change and pollution in the process.
The report’s findings proved that we have to make better choices which will make or mar the future of real estate development, not just in Nigeria but globally. Real estate developers, the government, and investors will have to put in more effort to implement eco-friendly initiatives through the development of smart cities.
Consider notable smart cities across the continent like Kenya’s Tatu City and Rwanda’s Vision City, and you will see the impact of that right choices have on sustainable practices. Tatu City is a 5,000-acre, mixed-use development that affords Kenyans a new way of living by adopting the green city concept of tree planting, waste management and the development of sustainable buildings.
Rwanda’s Vision City was conceived as part of the solution to the country’s rising housing demand. Vision City’s well-planned infrastructure design includes asphalted and solar-lighted streets, pedestrian walkways, fibre connectivity, open public and recreational spaces and a town centre providing access to basic amenities.
These cities attempt to strike a balance between environmental, economic and social benefits while ensuring resilience in the face of future challenges.
In Nigeria, there are ongoing projects that address the rapid urbanisation and urban migration across the globe.
An example of this is Eko Atlantic City, a project developed and managed by South Energyx Nigeria Ltd. In 2019, Alpha1, Eko Atlantic City’s first office tower was EDGE certified by the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
EDGE, which stands for ‘Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies’, cuts down building energy and water consumption by at least 20 percent, while lowering greenhouse gas emissions. The EDGE certification demonstrates Eko Atlantic’s commitment to becoming the first green city in Lagos.
Through South Energyx’s commitment to creating an environmentally-friendly city for the 21st century, developers in Eko Atlantic are encouraged to construct resource-efficient buildings such as Alpha1. They are also advised to use energy-efficient materials where possible. Already, Eko Atlantic has over 200,000 trees planted, with many more to come as the city progresses.
The city’s development efforts are also geared towards solving the prime real estate challenge in Nigeria by applying the ‘Smart City Concept’. Smart cities address most of the impediments created by urbanisation and are environmentally-friendly and sustainable.
As a community, Victoria Island was preserved through the Eko Atlantic City project by reclaiming valuable lands and businesses from the Atlantic Ocean through sustainable infrastructural development.
Nevertheless, Eko Atlantic City serves as more than just a commercial city. It also offers employment opportunities for residents of Lagos and Nigerians. With an estimated number of 250,000 residents and about 150,000 commuters, the city affords businesses a thriving environment to network and build lasting corporations.
Situated on10 million square metres of land reclaimed from the ocean and protected by an 8.5-kilometer-long sea wall, Eko Atlantic City is a haven for prime real estate seekers.b Its eco-friendly design also makes it a tourist attraction, with its emphatic green spaces and pedestrian-friendly open-air landmarks.
There are also substantial opportunities for economic investment for small, medium and large-scale businesses.
Now we know that smart cities help preserve local communities, protect the environment, and improve life quality. The rise of smart cities like Eko Atlantic will help Nigeria thrive as one of Africa’s business hubs, while preserving local communities like VI and Lekki.