Lagos Island, otherwise known as Eko has a lot of cultural offerings concealed in its bowl. The recent research carried out by the Sahara Centre for the Advancement of Culture and Tourism in collaboration with the Lagos Urban Development Initiative (LUDI) on the area revealed that the Island, which is home to many businesses, boasts of different cultural heritage and tourism appeals.
Being the first of its kind, the report was unveiled recently at the Sahara Centre, Ebute Metta, Lagos.
Titled, The Lagos Island Project Report, it documents residents’ perspective on recreation, leisure, culture and tourism.
The report findings draw attention to the role of efficient urban planning in the life and culture of people and how such could be used to improve their living standard, introduce healthier lifestyle, provide infrastructure and promote culture and tourism in the neighbourhoods. It reminded stakeholders in urban development, especially the government and real estate developers of the need to make the living space reflect on residents’ culture, and at the same time, promoting tourism.
Briefing the media, Dr. Adun Okupe, the Creative Director, Sahara Centre and facilitator of the research, disclosed that Lagos Island was chosen for the pilot project because of its Afro-Brazilian heritage, bustling economic activities, socio-cultural importance and its historical legacies.
Okupe noted that the project interrogated the residents’ attitude to leisure and recreational facilities in their neighbourhood, especially accessibility to recreational facilities such as the theatres, adding that urban planners should carry the residents along in city planning and the provision of infrastructure to give them the spirit of ownership and belongingness.
The project facilitator explained that Lagos with its buoyant economy should give priority to how the city is transformed to enable residents work and play seamlessly, and bring the balance required for holistic and happy life.
The executive director, Lagos Urban Development Initiative (LUDI), Olamide Ejorh, disclosed that some of the findings of the report include, the importance of leisure time to residents in various communities, how safety and security are key to outdoor activities and theatre culture, and how playgrounds and open space are being built up and as such hampering the people from expressing themselves in outdoor leisure activities in their communities.
She noted that the report highlighted how the newer development models seem to erode the diversity and vibrancy of their once cherished cities, displacing them with high rents and living costs, which further results in the decline of the value of existing recreational activities and attractions around them.