Sunday, July 01, 2007

Lagos Metro imagined

Finally I have finished a pet project I’ve had in my head for the past few months: an interpretation of the London Underground for Lagos. Click the image on the left to get the full-size version.

As with the London version, I have taken quite a few geographic/artistic licences for the purposes of design clarity and readability. My thinking is ppp: companies with deep pockets could sponsor the design & build of some of the stations to reduce the strain on the public purse, and in return pick the name of their choice (see Zenith, Silverbird, IBTC). On the other hand, some of the station names strongly signal a poetic sense of place, as with Palace (for the Oba’s Palace on Lagos Island), and 1004, standing for the eponymous flats. Again, for ease of use, I have left out the Five Cowrie Creek that separates Lagos Island from Victoria Island below it – those familiar with the morphology of Lagos can project it onto the map in their imagination.

What a joy Lagos would be with this metro system (it could be part overground, and part underground, depending on geology). As with the London version, I have kept a light rail system heading due East towards Ajah and Epe from the shared stations of Lekki/The Palms – this is it to cater for the marshy terrain along the Lekki peninsular.

Just imagine how convenient it would be if Lagos had this metro. The highbrow set could take the Falomo line (Piccadilly renamed) from their Bourdillon mansions to catch a classical music concert at Muson – at last not having to worry about parking and ‘settling’ awon boys; one could shop for a picnic at The Palms, then drink and eat it all on the new-look Bar Beach; or one could stock up on no-one-need-know juju fetish-wear at Oyingbo market before heading for the Silverbird cinema (connecting onto the Circle line at Kuramo Waters).

Please let me know if there are errors or improvements, or any thoughts the map sparks off for you... Its time a critical mass of people came together to plan Lagos into a global city worthy of the name.

The imaginary Lagos Metro system I have created is copyleft/creative commons – you are welcome to publish it elsewhere, so long as I am acknowledged. Please email me if you wish to do so.

This is the post-link:


Anonymous,  11:18 am  

Good idea but imagine these same awon boys going underground to harrass that's scary

Anonymous,  11:25 am  

then u will have cctv. and alarm systems etc. means that it would be easier for awon boys to be tracked. assuming the naija police get their acts together. But this is good stuff Jeremy.

TaureanMinx 11:51 am  

Great plan Jeremy, I do wish it could be implemented in the 'near future' as we Nigerians love to say. Hopefully as things get better economically, crime will reduce afterall mast western countries had a high level of crime once upon a time.

Abimars 12:18 pm  

Wow Jeremy, I've thought about this sooooooooo much. It would make such a difference. Its the kind of thing Donald Duke as president would have done I feel he is so forward thinking look at what he did in Tinapa.

Will,  12:36 pm  

lets stop wishing and thinking about implementation. That will come later. Lets start imagining. Jeremy, have you heard of the group Bukka? you might want to check them out. They into this kind of rethinking the urban morphology of a city like lagos. This is excellent jeremy. dedication or what. Are you a geek or something?

Jeremy 12:40 pm  

totally agree with you Will - imagination needs its space and its time.

Yes I am in touch with the Bukka posse. They are the experts when it comes to thinking through the future of Lagos. Hopefully, they'll be brought into the loop on any discussions about imagining and planning the future of Lagos..

Lola 1:33 pm  

wow.....if only, i'm thinking. don't know about nigeria sha.....

what is the bukka posse? that sounds scary like some lagos mafia crew or secret society a la Skulls and Bones or something...

Nkem 3:42 pm  

I HATE IT. It's colonialist, imperialist, Islandist. No way in hell are the Islands central Lagos. This map still centres around the Islands where the colonials laid their imperial heads, and where the neocolonialist now lay their Islandist heads. The Islands are at the fag end of Lagos, a mound of sand waiting to be reclaimed and embittered Atlantic where they belong. This map perpetuates the Island-Mainland divide. If there's any London comparison, they're like southeast London, which is served by buses and surface trains. The Islands ain't Lagos...

I'd like it if it wasn't so Islandist.

Chxta 3:49 pm  

I would rather not say any of the cynical things that came to my mind...

I love the concept of copyleft...:D

Jeremy 3:49 pm  

All this said from a man who lives in South East London..

You will note that I squeezed Maryland, Ikeja, Apapa, Ebutte Meta and Oyingbo in as non-Island stations..

The full mainland project would be Phase II of the Lagos Metro scheme. It would have taken me way too long to cover all of Lagos in an extended equivalent of the full 5-zone tube map..

By the way, I've thought of a name for the equivalent of the Oyster card: the Cowrie card!!

Moni 4:32 pm  

Jeremy, the concept is good, but the implementation and centralization around the island is poor. As a long time resident of Lagos, I've dreamt of a light rail "metro" network there for almost as long as I can remember.

Let's not kid ourselves around the funding issue. Yes, it would be bloody expensive to build, but that's not to say the money isn't there... because it is. Your idea of subsidization via corporate sponsorship is a good one. I see this as a federal issue, not a state one.

I think the transportation issue would be better served by a regional transit solution with fewer stops. This would extend from Ikeja (airport?) all the way to the islands.

adefunke 6:13 pm  

Hmmm ... I wonder what the proposed Lagos Metro system under Jakande wold have looked like.

Ponle 9:34 pm  

Interesting Jeremy, i just wonder how on earth you got to know all these places! I have friends who dont know Lagos as much as this 'London boy'. Good thinking, lets imagine it further and propose possible next steps.
By the way, who are the Bukka folks?

Style Council by SisiOge! 1:21 am  

Jay, love the map...However, as you know the biggest problem with telecoms in Nigerian is the laying of cables due to landownership issues...If this plan were to work it would have to be ove- ground and must never cross water otherwise you might aswell give people a one-way ticket to their death... As you well know, one stands a better chance of winning the lottery than getting dependable power supply from NEPA or worst still, emergency services should the unthinkable occure!

BUT, nevertheless.... I LOVE IT! I think you've done an excellent job. Anychace of printing it in poster as a souvernier for tourists etc.... What do you reckon!

CareTaker,  6:30 am  

You deserve an award for this! You are on AfricanLoft!

lola 8:44 am  

Awesome! I didn't think it was possible that someone could make sense out of the senselessness of Lagos roads...nice work Jeremy! Challenge to the rest of us, let's see if we can post the link as far and wide as possible, Who knows? somebody up there might see it and the project in. You get to be the consultant overseeing the project...for bringing up the idea..I get a cut in form a contract to supply something...and then we'll all live happily ever after Naija style! Who's with me?

Anonymous,  10:20 am  

who are these bukka people? do the sell amala and egusi? If so can they send me some with lafu and ewedu stew with oxtail, shaki, igbin, assorted sha!

seriously, who are they? i have heard several people mention them.


Jeremy 10:23 am  

Find out about bukka here:

Not sure they'll sell you any oxtail or shaki..

Anonymous,  10:45 am  

Great idea Jeremy, it will indeed be a wish turned into a dream come through.

But first, I think we need to fix our roads and sort out other infrastructure like power out, otherwise this Project will forever be a "wishful thinking"

Bitchy 11:42 am  

I like this, it's a great step in the right direction. Perhaps you and your Bukka friends should put a thoroughly fleshed-out proposal together and take it round to a few bigwigs?

But to echo the first comment, awon boys would pose a serious problem. Who will respond to the alarm raised by the guys watching the CCTV screens? The police?! They're useless. I somehow feel that Lagos will have tons of trouble trying to get itself up to 'global city' status until it sorts out its CRIME problem!

Dami 5:45 pm  

wow! good one j, if we can get just 2-3 lines at the moment we'll be in business.

too much emphasis on the 'rich' neighbourhood though, they have better roads already

Ladi 8:17 pm  

Some see as the world as it is... and ask Why?

Some see the world as it should be and ask... Why Not?

All of una wey una don comment for this post... make una arrange una self for where una belong.

But seriously... ideas like these are the ones that make a hopeless Sanguine like myself get goosebumps!

A study was commissioned by Bola Tinubu at the beginning of his administration in 1999 on the feasibility of an underground system for Lagos. The cost of the project was found to be "prohibitively high" (Unfourtunately I cannot give any reference for this information... just say I got it from the ever reliable 'demsay' grapevine!)

Me thinks the people who did the study LOOKED for the problems and focused on it to the exclusion of actually trying to make it work.

As it is... I can think of 5 major intrinsic challenges that would hamper such a project (not to count the ones enumerated already)... but I prefer to dream instead of buying a Cowrie Card at the corner Ibo shop in Egbeda/Akowonjo near my parent's house!

As usual.. I don over yarn! But one last thought... no matter the challenges pointed out (especially the social ones like Area boys, landfill ati bebe lo...) such a project if undertaken could actually be part of a wider development plan that would have direct and indirect benefits on the city of Lagos. Sort of like hosting a major soccer tournament.

Jeremy... Olorun a fun e, ati gbogbo awa iyoku se, so we can actually do some good!

Anonymous,  10:25 am  

wishful thinking, you should know by now that it's never gonna happen nigerian politicians are too corrupt to do any good...

Anonymous,  10:30 am  

it might not happen now, but that shouldn't stop us from dreaming, from imagining a different society, a different way of doing things. Perhaps the problem with us Nigerians/Africans is that we stop ourself from imagining. Everything begins with the imagination. when we lose our ability to imagine, then there is no way on earth we can implement change or bring about a new social order. Everything starts with imagination. This is part of that imagining.

Anonymous,  10:52 am  

lovely to dream and all, but how much hopeless dreaming can we do...

Anonymous,  11:54 am  

hi, it's The fav anon. My humble response this this is - It's the economy STUPID!


Anonymous,  10:37 am  

Fantastic. I am willing to work to make it happen. Give me a holler anyone out there who thinks this is no dream.

Anonymous,  11:44 am  

it's the eternal pessimist again, and this one is directed at dreamer, if only your ppl had ur optimism, then they'd be a superpower today sadly nations weren't built by optimism alone. optimism needs, honest stand-up implementers and that is a group which is seriously lacking there, so wonderful and ingenious as this idea is, i am only pointing out the obvious which is that it will only ever remain an IDEA!!! ciao

Anonymous,  11:48 am  

kepp up the pipe dreams!!!

daGuv,  12:40 pm  

I believe that all good things start with ideas and they then roll on to become implementations. Jeremy men..I like the concept. To the pessimists: don't knock a great idea, support it or come up with yours. London wasn't built in a day and I believe Lagos can achieve the same level of organization if we start driving through ideas of this nature.



Anonymous,  8:53 am  

hi Jeremy. that is amazing and very creative. you've hust given me a brilliant idea and i may be in touch. cheers, brown inQ.

UndaCovaSista 11:02 am  

I'm glad you did this, but probably for different reasons from most people. I haven't been back to the motherland for nearly 11 years (and yes, i am hanging my head in shame as i divulge this piece of information). Alfred Korzybski (the father of general semantics (according to Wikipedia, so it must be true!)) said 'The map is not the territory', encapsulating his view that an abstraction derived from something, or a reaction to it, is not the thing itself, e.g., the pain from a stone falling on your foot is not the stone; one's opinion of a politician, favorable or unfavorable, is not that person; a metaphorical representation of a concept is not the concept itself; and so on. A specific abstraction or reaction does not capture all facets of its source—e.g., the pain in your foot does not convey the internal structure of the stone, you don't know everything that is going on in the life of a politician, etc

What i'm trying to say is the even if the map is not the territory, just looking at your map immediately brought back dormant memories of places, not exactly forgotten, but not fully remembered either. So, thanks i guess

Jerry07 1:30 am  

Man you are a gem. But I am yet to convince myself otherwise that you are not from Onitsha (in Oyinbo skin). Anyway, I am going to sleep right-away, so that I can wake up with my own dream...and soon, IT SHALL MANIFEST IN NIGER LAND. Thomases shall soon believe in US. Ka Chineke mezie okwu.AMENooooH!!!!!

Anonymous,  9:19 pm  

Oga, Jeremy, your plan is very interesting. However, Lagos will not have a modern rail system for the next 25 years. You can take that to the bank.

1) 99% of the money allocated to the project will be embezzled.

and 2) I can just imagine Nigerians throwing pure water, and even human waste all over the tracks. They are some of the filthiest, lawless people alive.

So, I like the idea of dreaming, but for now, Lagos remains the "urban jungle" (the words of Obasanjo himself!) that it is, and Nigeria will remain the bungling contraption that it is!

Your blog is great, by the way!

Anonymous,  1:24 pm  

if other parts of the world did it, why not in Nigeria and in Lagos especially? Lagos is one of the biggest cities in the world - maybe if the Lagos Metroline had been made to succeed, it would have surpased what Jeremy imagined here.

for better maps go to

Do Nationwide travel directions, address search, find my nearest, points of interest, Nigerian post code search etc. You can also buy one of our in car navigation untis for Nigeria down to street level. Some skeptics will say things dont work in Nigeria - let them remain in theri dream land while people like us reap the juice of the land.

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